|Photo by: Stereogum|
Key Tracks: "Heavy Metal," "Temporary," "I Had It Coming"
The bulk of White Rabbits' latest LP, Milk Famous, comes across as an indulgence of neurotic hooks and precise production, which result in a typically catchy batch of familiar tunes. For this, their third album, White Rabbits recruited Spoon producer, Mike McCarthy. Spoon frontman Britt Daniel produced their previous album, It’s Frightening, and comparisons between the two bands are hard not to acknowledge.
While not entirely detrimental when giving Milk Famous a listen, one can’t help but imagine how each song would sound if Britt Daniel’s hyperactive vocals were present on each track. Regardless, the Brooklyn indie-rockers have found a sound that, although decidedly familiar, promotes consistency throughout.
From start to finish, Milk Famous is oozing with nervous energy--something that seemingly translates very well from their infectious live performances to the studio. Jittery and repetitious melodies run rampant and are always accompanied by sporadic, one-off sounds that come and go at irregular intervals.
Album opener, "Heavy Metal," sets the bar very high, possibly so high that Milk Famous fails to reach it again. With lead singer Steven Patterson’s uncertain falsetto trying to find room among the schizophrenic guitar, repetitive piano and percussion, the track is about as chaotic as one can imagine, but White Rabbits keep a tight grasp on their sound, at least in this instance.
On the jam “Temporary,” Patterson’s vocals settle into a nice groove alongside a cautionary guitar-driven rhythm. “I really don’t know why but it’s wrong, / Oh no, / Give me a moment it’s about to fall, / It’s temporary,” Patterson warns moments before the band showcases their talented concordance.
Most of the songs follow the usual pattern: a beat that carries throughout, shaky vocals, roundabout melodies and a couple strange noises added for effect. Even though Milk Famous never really trips over itself, it starts to stumble when you feel like you can guess exactly where each song is headed.
Other songs become too cluttered at times, such as “I’m Not Me,” which fills the three-plus minute runtime with a handful of different instruments that all converge into noise. Songs like the aforementioned, as well as the choppy “Day You Won the War” that never settle down into something manageable, begin to form in ways aversive to Milk Famous’ standout parts.
The first moment to relax, to come back from being on edge--which isn’t a bad thing in this case--arrives with the last song on the album, “I Had It Coming.” Strange noises scatter along the background while singular notes from a piano compliment Patterson’s crooning. Slowly evolving over four minutes, the subtle track includes a variety of break-ins with playful noises that distort and enhance the listen, giving White Rabbits a glimpse at a sound they possibly could call their own.
White Rabbits’ Milk Famous excels in the spots where the created chaos teeters like a glass of water on the edge of a table, contained enough to never spill over. Each song has a similar formula and provides many of the same thrills, some of which tire by the end.
Milk Famous offers plenty of enjoyment, but is only as good as long as the listener doesn’t dwell on the repetitiveness that stems from each moment prior.
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