Review Summary: Bad Rabbits get real with us.American Love
, for all its groove and sensuality, was not a blueprint for a lasting product. It oozed confidence in its presentation, especially in Fredua Boakye’s vocal performance, but ultimately felt shallow, lacking a reason beyond simple catchiness to ever return once the initial honeymoon phase wore off. Two more albums of American Love
and Bad Rabbits’ career could easily have been reduced to a song or two being played at a Ross Clothing or a dance club and the band was clearly
capable of more. Fortunately, Bad Rabbits made the simple yet marvelous decision to become a rock band, one that retains all the soul and energy of their previous releases while adding some much-needed substance in the form of instrumentals that work with
the vocals, not for them, and some subject matter deeper than the female species. Thematically, American Nightmare
occupies the same soul-punx realm inhabited by bands like letlive. The funky synths that have been a staple of Bat Rabbits’ sound have been discarded and replaced with a groovy blend of alt-rock and jazzy post-hardcore that surprising comes across as quite effortless despite the drastic musical shift here.
Make no mistake, this is more than Bad Rabbits with guitars, this is Bad Rabbits who show an edge and fire they’ve never even hinted at before. “Original”, the fastest song on the album, sees Boakye’s vocals start off in typical soaring fashion before surprising the listener with his unique harsh voice that is an easy highlight of the album. “Faceless” is another hard-hitting banger that is probably the most complete example of Bad Rabbits’ evolution. The band (like in many points throughout American Nightmare
) carries the song with a pumping bass line and pounding drums that projects such a different tone than what American Love
had it’s hard as an old fan not to appreciate and respect what you’re hearing. In addition to this welcome edge displayed, American Nightmare
contains its somber and pensive moments as well. “WWYD” is not only the most beautiful song on the album, it serves as the most powerful song on the album as Boakye lets loose with his views on America’s police and their treatment of minorities. And as the song ends with a list of names from high profile incidents involving police and African Americans the feeling really sets in that Bad Rabbits are a changed band.
Above it all American Nightmare
is organic. The effortlessness displayed here is what separates American Nightmare
from the current iteration of letlive or other similar groups. The music never becomes too technical or strays too far away from the Bad Rabbits core. It never tries to be groovy, it just is
groovy, it never tries to add soulful elements, it just is
soulful. This inherent property, which is only accomplished by certain musicians somehow finding each other and somehow clicking, eliminates all pretensions prevalent in the genre and paves the way for the listener to just enjoy the music of American Nightmare
by Bad Rabbits, the rock band.