Graph Rabbit
Snowblind


4.5
superb

Review

by Ali CONTRIBUTOR (130 Reviews)
October 12th, 2012 | 34 replies | 5,184 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sleep... sleep... sleep...

If my recent obsession with this record proves anything, it's the virtues of a good press release. About two weeks ago I was sitting here at my computer, amply sifting through a batch I'd been sent. Nothing really stood out. There was some wishy-washy pop punk, lots of landfill indie and the odd intellectual electronica project I couldn't be arsed to put my mind to. Nope, not much at all; except that is for a modest introduction to a Brooklyn duo who went by the name of Graph Rabbit. It was brisk, informative, vaguely namechecked a bunch of awesome artists (Wilco, Bjork, Sigur Ros, etc) and best of all provided a link to the band's debut single at the bottom.

Mildly interested, I was redirected to the video for "Only Fields," and for the next seven minutes found myself lost in a heavenly haze of enchanting sonic beauty. Come its conclusion, I spent a good 30 seconds staring blankly into space, flabbergasted by what I'd just heard and hopelessly attempting to make sense of it all in my peaceful, sedated mind. It seemed that amongst all the debris, I'd been granted access to a truly precious gem, and having regained my composure I immediately set about acquiring the group's debut album.

It seemed almost unfair to judge it against such an astonishing individual track, but to my sheer bewilderment Snowblind not only met expectations but comprehensively exceeded them. Built around the concept of a character wandering through a blissful snowscape and repeatedly falling under its sleep-inducing spell, this is a record perfectly suited to its other-worldly theme; presenting a stark and harrowing narrative that's quite staggering coming from a pair of novices. Rife in both confidence and conviction, Austin Donohue and Shy Kedmi have seemingly found the perfect equilibrium between the dreamy scenery of Beach House and the ambient wonder of Jonsi and co, and what's more add a healthy dose of Thom Yorke for good measure. The only bum note in its 36-minute runtime is "Butterscotch," a song which in any other context would most likely represent a moment of stirring introspective elegance. Here, its effect is more akin to a bomb going off during a public memorial, but while that brashness breaches the LP's otherwise seamless flow the rest of its material is of such implausible quality it's difficult to remember - let alone forgive - that one naïve misstep.

For all the analog synths, bells and scattered dabblings of folk, the overwhelming aura of Snowblind is one of startling simplicity. This approach is epitomised in its two most distinctive features: Donohue's ethereal falsetto croon and the punctuated chime of glockenspiel, both of which echo through the amassed tension, reveling in their self-imposed isolation. Nowhere is this more evident than on "Blackwood Tree," which sets their dominance against a bed of eerie bobbling synth and background jingles to genuinely stunning effect. It's a similar story on "Falling Snow," which lends their charity to a notably more upbeat melody which could easily double-over as a calmative lullaby.

I'm still struggling to come to terms with it to be honest; the fact that two practically unknown musical newcomers have crafted a piece of such dazzling vision and accomplishment. What's even harder to take is the likelihood it'll fade into obscurity - gone before thousands upon thousands of potential suitors even get the chance to behold its consummate glory. That would be a travesty, and we should do everything in our power to prevent it from materialising. Please, don't let Graph Rabbit fall under your radar. Listen to Snowblind. Buy it. Spread the word. Attention is the very least these guys deserve.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2012



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also posted at http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

Album's streaming here (for now) http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/spinner#/16

If this sounds like it'd be up your street then please give it a go. Lots of people here will love this.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2012



2714 Comments


Now this does seem interesting. Great review/ sales pitch - gonna get right on this.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2012



15775 Comments


It didnt sound like it would up my street but it was. Enjoyed the stream.
Pos'd review.

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012



9977 Comments


Nice to see you getting these guys some attention, man. It sounds like something I would definitely like - awesome review, and I'll have to check this out very soon. =]

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

synysterdjs
October 13th 2012



101 Comments


Really good review. Have a pos'sy. I'mma finds this and steals it.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Looks good, man. Thanks for taking my criticism.

I edited this down since it's not really necessary any longer.

Pos'd like I promised. :D

Digging: Rx Bandits - Gemini, Her Majesty

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album's pretty cool so far! "White Birds" has a real George Harrison feel to it.

synysterdjs
October 13th 2012



101 Comments


Heil Hitler!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012



9977 Comments


This album's stellar so far.

GiaNXGX
October 13th 2012



4867 Comments


Thank you so damn much for reviewing this Ali. I listened to the stream before commenting and this is one of the best things I've heard so far 2012. It is just so beautiful, it's almost as if Kid A had sex with Sigur Ros "Valtari". I'm so impressed, a 4.5 indeed.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012



9977 Comments


I'm actually a little underwhelmed by this on the first listen, although it's definitely very pretty.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think it might just be a little too mellow and sleepy for me. But I think it's a personal thing - this is definitely well done.

AlexTM510
October 13th 2012



1398 Comments


Just saw this

recommended by reviewer
Beach House Bloom
Sigur Ros Ágætis Byrjun
Radiohead Kid A
Youth Lagoon The Year Of Hibernation
The Antlers Burst Apart
Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver


and was sold-didnt even read the review

edit: just read it, solid review

GiaNXGX
October 13th 2012



4867 Comments



I'm actually a little underwhelmed by this on the first listen, although it's definitely very pretty.



Yeah it is underwhelming but that's the point. It is a very sweet record enhanced by subtle nuances. I just changed my rating to a 4 - It's incredible but not superb- there are things that could be improved. One thing's for sure - gonna listen to this before I got to sleep tonight :]

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys

@Jonny: Our tastes don't seem to overlap much but you should definitely give this a go. I'll check out that 17f record in exchange ;)

@AtomicWaste: Thanks for the nitpicks, much appreciated. One or two I don't see the issue with but fixed the others up.

@Jacob: It was probably about a 3.5 for me after one listen. It really started to click second and third time around though

@GianGXGX: Excellent! glad you enjoyed it. Spread the word etc.

Pretty much every time I've listened to this I've been barely awake, be it early morning or late night. I think that helps.

OneMoreRoland
October 13th 2012



1050 Comments


This sounds excellent.

castleberry
October 13th 2012



8 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this, for me is the best album so far this year.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Provided it doesn't wear off, I'd be tempted to agree.

Had you heard/heard of these guys before?

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The couple things you didn't change were just a matter of style, so it's no big deal - just suggestions. Review looks good.

chambered49
October 14th 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not sure what to think of this



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