Review Summary: An interesting album that somewhat consumes itself.
I personally love when albums have an air of theatricality to them. Film as a medium is designed to provide an illusion to get lost in. Why can’t albums do the same thing? The “Transmission” tracks on This Life… are excellent in this regard. They are also extremely short, which is a definite plus. Enter Shikari’s Take to the Skies had longer intermission tracks that took away from the album and seemed more or less like self-indulgence. Before “Transmission 1” even has a chance to completely register as a track on the album you are treated to “Hero in Mr. Sholensk,” an excellent album opener.
The track has everything that I would want somebody completely new to Rabbit Junk to hear in order to get a feel for the sound. Yes, the drums are programmed and not “real,” but if they were any different, I feel it would distract from the overall sound. The addition of female backing vocals on “Hero in…” creates an incredibly musical moment.
I know I’m spending a lot of time talking about that opening track, but that is because it manages to contain everything wonderful about Rabbit Junk, as well as the few elements that some might find irritating. I am personally a fan of the vocals. They are unique, a difficult trait to find in heavier music (or any music). They sound similar, to me at least, to Jay Gordon of the band Orgy, though much higher in energy and with more punk / hardcore sensibilities.
“Guns” comes in afterword with just as much energy. The guitar line in it sounds like it could be the music from a Megaman video game. “The Struggle” comes next and is another good track but gets slightly lost in the shuffle. That is, until the 8bit-esque breakdown followed by a very 80’s guitar solo. This shows another possible positive and possible negative of this album. The songs are very reliant on strong memorable moments. The downside to this is finding the other parts of the song to be somewhat tiring.
“Black” is a little too high energy and brutal. “Ghetto Blasphemer” is exciting and dystopia-sounding. “The Collection” is best when JP Anderson is using his clean vocals, followed by a really groovy quiet section. Any energy or enthusiasm you may have lost with the middle portion of the album is luckily revived with the strong two closing tracks.
All in all, I would recommend this album to fans of BOTH electronic music and metal music, not to fans of one or the other. Rabbit Junk is a remarkable statement to how heavy music can be without the traditional band set-up. It’s got some extremely brutal moments and extremely catchy hooks. Overall it’s a solid album. It isn’t complex, it isn’t technical, but it has a definite mood that it carries, and it’s fun.
Recommended Tracks: “Hero in Mr. Sholensk,” “The Struggle,” and “Ghetto Blasphemer.”
For fans of: Atari Teenage Riot, Left Spine Down, Orgy, I Set My Friends on Fire