Review Summary: Double the drummers, double the fun
Right from the start, it’s clear “Milk Famous” is going to take a shadier and less upbeat path than its 2009 predecessor, “It’s Frightening.” Instead of starting with a song similar to the explosive “Percussion Gun” that began their previous effort, “Milk Famous” starts on the dark and almost dissonant “Heavy Metal.” The song is a good harbinger of the sounds to come on White Rabbits’ new release -- the sound of a more mature and refined band.
The album pulls the listener back and forth, moving from standard indie-rock fare, to songs scattered with piano, to songs that feel like they were created with the help of psychedelics, to songs that are just downright catchy.
In the second track, “I’m Not Me,” the best song on the album, piano begins to trickle in behind the vocals and guitar, and the song starts to pick up speed. Faster and faster it goes, guitar, piano, vocals, now drums, too, building and building until it breaks into relative calm. Patterson continues to sing, accompanied by some layered drums, trippy guitar, and backup vocalist Alexander Even. But rapidly, the song changes again, with Patterson now clearly in the foreground, backed by a piano that punctuates his words as he sings, “I’m, not, me,” pausing after each syllable. The song continues on in a similar fashion until the final minute, when, like embers after a great blaze, it fades, steadily growing weaker and weaker, getting the listener ready for the song that follows.
Interestingly, White Rabbits has two drummers, a strategy that was popular in the ’70s with bands like The Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band. However, this technique isn’t used by all that many contemporary bands, which White Rabbits uses to its advantage, crafting and intertwining great drumming, adding complexity and uniqueness to their music.
While White Rabbits doesn’t quite create any other songs that are on the level of the standout track “I’m Not Me,” and parts of the second half feel too similar to one another, lacking any kind of real punch, the whole record is more than worth listening to and has its fair share of great songs.
“Everyone Can’t Be Confused” has a laid-back and groovy bass line that runs throughout, pervading and tingling the senses. The lead single, “Temporary,” starts off cold and distant before slickly transforming into an impassioned and raucous rocker. Album closer “I Had It Coming” is just about as great a finisher for the album as I can imagine, with its laid-back instrumentation and wistful sound and lyrics. It’s like the band doesn’t want to end the album on which they clearly worked so hard.
And, again, the band has two drummers, which is freakin’ cool.