Dirty Little Rabbits is the side-project of M. Shawn Crahan aka Clown of Slipknot fame. While he is best known for generally going mental on stage and hitting beer kegs and snare drums for Slipknot, he is the drummer for Dirty Little Rabbits. They are nothing like Slipknot though, and are aiming for a sound that is a little more up-beat.
Fronted by female vocalist Stella Katsoudas, and she is quite possibly the most dynamic frontwoman in recent memory. The emotional intensity in her voice has got the ability to leave the listener breathless and her range is incredible. She can go from a gentle whisper to a piercing scream and back instantly. Her voice seems to float on the music, and comparisons can be made with Lacey Mosley of Flyleaf. It’s obvious how much she pushes herself into the music with the tracks ‘If’ and ‘Professional Hit’ displaying the pain and emotion in her voice, making the songs something that can be listened to again and again. However, in more upbeat offerings like ‘Hello’ she reminds the listener of an old school Gwen Stefani. If her vocals weren’t as strong, then it would be easy for the band to become lost and forgotten among all the others jumping on the female-fronted bandwagon.
Their sound fuses psychedelic, pop and indie rock that is driven by organ flourishes and tight rhythm work. Not one song can be comparable to the next, but ‘I Love You’ and ‘Professional Hit’ are quite similar. The inclusion of the organ is brilliant. It makes the album stand out from much of mainstream rock and it isn’t used just as a gimmick either, but much more a vital part of the machine. ‘Simon’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’ are held together by the bouncy organ notes that are hypnotic in their hazy glory. Although an occasional piano or synth line will appear every so often, the organ is given the leading role on much of the album. It’s refreshing to hear a band that makes the most of an instrument more than just using it in the periphery as a showy gesture.
‘I Love You’ features an awesome guitar solo that raises the intensity a little, while last song ‘Rabbit Holes’ ends it all with a forceful main riff which avoids clichÃ©s and the over-used ballads which are found too often on album closers. The lyrics are the only weak point – a few of the songs work well around the ideas of deception and lost love, but repetition with the lyrics does rear its face at times.
Throughout the album, the feeling comes across that Crahan is comfortable playing this style of music. Slipknot fans will be surprised by how melodic Dirty Little Rabbits are and some will even criticize them because of the extremely differentiated sound compared to Slipknot. However, < by going away from his comfort zone, Crahan exposes hints of a very musically talented man who has been surpassed by the rest of Slipknot. For those who wish to hear the adventurous side of the man known as commonly known as Clown, Dirty Little Rabbits is the perfect album to invest in.
Written by Rhys Milsom
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