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Rabbit in the Moon

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

August 27, 2007
Despite their reputation of creating live shows filled with frenzied energy, led by their ever-costume-clad lead man, Bunny, Rabbit in the Moon remains one of the most enigmatic acts in electronic music. So enigmatic, in fact, that Decade is the group's first full-length album in their sixteen-year career. How to judge an effort from a group that has been producing mixes and remixes for nearly two decades, and is only now releasing an album? It's easy: Decade isn't all that good, and in fact offers little new to the world of electronica. The twelve tracks collected here gather older material with a few fresh offerings, along with an odd cover that falls far short of the original.

Mining the familiar territories of psychedelic trance, house, and drum and bass, Rabbit in the Moon relies on heavy beats and keyboards to propel their music into the listener's bloodstream. The standout track is "Deeper," which features David Christophere's impressive keyboard skills, a set of haunting strings, and a neat vocal sample. Few other tracks exhibit the same energy as "Deeper," though there are solid enough beats on "Star Shine (Come Alive)" and several other tracks to dance to, if need be The problem here is that the melodies are nearly all forgettable, lacking the catchiness of, say, Underworld's "Cups" or "Born Slippy," and the lyrics simply too strange.

Rabbit in the Moon also offers an industrial- meets-electronica cover of David Bowie's "Let's Dance," recast, as they state, as "a protest song. Lets [sic] Dance is a metaphor for lets [sic] fight." It's never clear what, exactly, Rabbit in the Moon is interested in fighting against, though we can assume they're hinting at the Iraq War. As this reviewer has stated before, electronic music has never been the best venue for political commentary, as it's hard to think too deeply amongst the sweat, fog, lights, and bodies of the dance floor, and the effort on "Let's Dance" is simply awkward in its attempt to do so.

The track-listed version of "O.B.E.," Rabbit in the Moon's best and most well-known track, does not feature the piano or voice samples from Tori Amos's "Precious Things," which added a slightly sinister element to an already mysterious song. No matter; Rabbit in the Moon decided to add this version as a hidden track at the album's end, following "Decade." But even this welcomed addition doesn't raise Decade from the doldrums. Perhaps Rabbit in the Moon would have been better served to release a live album that captured the much-praised energy of their performances. On Decade, this energy's simply not evident.

Decade also includes a DVD which features fifteen videos, a combination of music videos and "live" performances (the studio tracks are dubbed over the live sound - it's near hilarity to watch as the crowd of fans - better known as "rabbitheads" - dance and scream completely muted). There's little of interest here, other than some strange eye candy, along with the odd placement of WTO protest footage from the Czech Republic during the live performance of "Let's Dance." What, exactly, Rabbit in the Moon, are you protesting against?

As an introduction to Rabbit in the Moon, Decade serves its purpose, though listeners would be better advised to seek out the two Rabbit in the Moon Remixes volumes for more interesting material. Psychedelic trance just might be a genre best suited for live viewing - otherwise this outer body experience falls disappointingly flat.

Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.

See other reviews by Eric J. Morgan



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