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The Half Rabbits
Tiny Knives for Tiny Minds

Andrew Eldritch, is that you? Surely no one but the Sauron of Dark Rock Music could survive in such a scary musical fog (in a good way) and come out sounding so malevolently chipper. No one except Michael Weatherburn from Oxford, who doesn’t look anything like a gothic overlord. He does have a certain look in his eye though, suggesting an evil spirit squatting in the body of a history student.

It’s dark sound all right. Six-foot-under bass lines and carpet-bomb guitars ripped from art-rock nightmares frame Michael’s musings. That shrieking, overdriven geometric sound has turned up in the review pile (and on the radio) quite a lot, and I’ve come to feel that in the wrong hands, it simply doesn’t work. When you’re making this sort of noise you can’t afford to be shy. What a delight, a blessed relief, to hear a band using it the way it was meant to used, to joyfully terrorise the listener.

Michael’s vocals are a big factor in this, supplying an agreeable, moustache-twirling melodrama. When he declaims ‘These rumours trouble me greatly’ or ‘I feel the light touch of reality on my shoulder… (pause) as I told her’ you can only tremble before the perfect balance of menace and archness. It doesn’t hurt any that the songs are strong too, mixing the murky pain of Joy Division with American punk tendencies. There’s a poppy bent to them too, notably in the colliding hooks of ‘Playing With Fireworks’.

There’s only so many ways you can say ‘boo!’ but this is definitely one of them. Coming to the hairs on the nape of a neck near you soon.

Written by McLaughlin on

Stuart McLaughlin

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