Pepper Rabbit’s “Red Velvet Snow Ball”

“Never mind the album art, Pepper Rabbit have created absolute joy with their sophomore album, Red Velvet Snow Ball.” – Hannah Cook

Hannah Cook

out of 10

Pepper Rabbit
Red Velvet Snow Ball
August 9, 2011
Kanine Records

Holy colors and echoes. Never mind the album art, Pepper Rabbit have created absolute joy with their sophomore album, Red Velvet Snow Ball. It’s like the most magnificent of carnivals happening in the bottom of well. Or a videogame. Or something like that.

The duo, consisting of Xander Singh and Luc Laurent, first started out in New Orleans before ending up in their current location, Los Angeles. The jovial nature of those cities could be a possible root to the similar nature of their music. Or maybe it’s because Pepper Rabbit are simply a couple of happy, quirky souls. Regardless, it’s difficult to believe only two people are contriving all these different sounds (though, live, they do invite a friend to play bass). With the use of at least 11 motley instruments, they’re getting the most out of their loop pedal, along with countless electronic knick-knacks.

There’s never a dull moment on Red Velvet Snow Ball. As dreamy and seemingly surreal as the songs are, liveliness keeps the listener in tune. The noises drown out nothing and no one, but instead take things on some sort of flight, like everything is working perfectly in synch.

Take “Family Planning” for instance, which starts off with synth-y keyboards soon joined by fast-paced acoustic strums in rhythm with buoyant drumming. Singh’s nerdy voice floats overtop, and as dreamlike as it all sounds, reality strikes with utter cohesiveness.

“Tiny Fingers,” the album’s closer, strangely eases its way into a light-hearted carousel tune of sorts, but it’s not long before sublime harmonizing takes things to a different facet. Eventually the sounds fade out, only to pick up again with a bass line so delightfully catchy, it’s a part I look forward to most on the album. Soon, higher guitar plucks, drumming and Singh’s vocals are weaved in, and when I didn’t think it was possible, the catchiness grew and grew. Singh recalls lyrics from a previous song, “Murder Room,” “Please don’t send me back / because I killed you dead / made it look like a heart attack.” He yells his final words ferociously, and the song dwindles to dissonant bangs on the drum. It’s an ending that makes you wish it wasn’t the end.

Obviously, some oddities are layered in the music (think Animal Collective but not as confusing), but the experimentation they implemented on this album compared to Beauregard (2010) was a successful venture. The sound is fuller and whimsical, the kind of sound that one could listen to doing nothing at all, or everything in the world one ever wished to do. Inspiring may not be the right word, but certainly there’s something about it that gets the mind to do and think what it truly wants.