The members of White Rabbits clearly understand the importance of making a strong first impression. On its 2007 debut, Fort Nightly, the Brooklyn-via-Columbia, Mo., band introduced itself with "Kid on My Shoulders," a rollicking, cabaret-esque opener revolving around a mischievous piano line and an anxious guitar riff. The band's 2009 follow-up, It's Frightening (produced by Spoon's Britt Daniel), kicked off with the similarly urgent "Percussion Gun," a rhythm-centric track highlighted by a rumbling floor-tom beat and repetitively pounded pianos.
Unsurprisingly, White Rabbits' new Milk Famous (out March 6) continues that trend. The ominous opener "Heavy Metal" crackles with nervous energy; in four and a half minutes, the song throws out enough skittering synth loops, deafening guitar blasts and paranoid lyrics to leave you looking over your shoulder.
Getting a listener's attention is one thing — maintaining it is another altogether. Thankfully, bandleaders Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson have learned a few lessons about hanging onto momentum. The jagged guitar riffs in "I'm Not Me," the off-kilter drum beat of "Everyone Can't Be Confused" and the guttural bass line of "Temporary" aren't the newest tricks in the bag, but they provide enough variation throughout Milk Famous to keep the album interesting past its grabby opening moments. It's those little details, combined with the band's playfulness and lyrical charm, that result in White Rabbits' most consistent record to date:Milk Famous grabs listeners from the get-go and keeps them spinning in circles, leaving them to guess which of the band's many faces it'll show next.
-- By Matthew Borlik, WXPN
Milk Famous will be available to stream on demand from Monday, February 27 through March 6, 2012. The album will be released on March 6.