For its sophomore album, It’s Frightening, White Rabbits recruited Spoon frontman Britt Daniel to produce. This partnership proved to be a fruitful collaboration, as the resulting album focused the band’s best ideas from their debut, Fort Nightly, with a remarkable precision that still allowed their infectious energy to flourish. Urgent, often frenetic, and unbelievably catchy, the influence of Spoon on White Rabbits was clear on It’s Frightening, even to a fault. Nearly three years later, White Rabbits are back with Milk Famous.
Rather than Daniel, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Columbia, MO rockers chose to pair with Spoon producer Mike McCarthy. While the Spoon comparisons are not going to cease anytime soon with that kind of track record, what White Rabbits are doing on Milk Famous is darker and more sinister than the output of Daniel and company. Disconcerting electronic murk and the odd, sporadic guitar crunch underlies opener “Heavy Metal”, all as an almost-panicked falsetto exudes nervousness. Equally unnerving are the unearthly cries of “Hold It to the Fire”, with the subtly rapid-fire percussion elevating the tension to the point of inescapability.
Darkness prevails even on the catchier songs of Milk Famous. White Rabbits strike the perfect balance between foreboding and fun on the urgent “I’m Not Me”, as its jagged guitar scrapings evoke cinematic horror while simultaneously giving it that irresistible punch. Overall, the arrangements that the band has crafted on Milk Famous reveal a newfound complexity and an ear for the darker side. While captivatingly evil at points, the absence of the hooks that made It’s Frightening so exceptional can make Milk Famous a difficult match.
Essential Tracks: “I’m Not Me”, “I Had It Coming”, and “Hold It to the Fire”