RABBIT IN THE BLOOD – Little Ray of Sunshine EP

Rabbit in the Blood is an acoustic based duo featuring Neil Luckett – a singer-songwriter best known for his work with alternative rock band tvfordogs – and composer, songwriter and producer Mark Lord. It pushes asides the hard rock and power pop edges of Neil’s band in favour of gentleness, of warmth and acoustic finger-picking. Musically, it may appear light upon the surface, but there’s something sinister lurking beneath.

The title cut has a very European feel, thanks to some keyboard work evoking an accordion sound, while the addition of strings (arranged by Mark Lord) is a nice touch. It’s a positive and upbeat musical arrangement, but looking closer, the lyrics are a cry of desperation, especially as the protagonist’s happiness seems to depend entirely upon the one closest to him. ‘Do You Feel the Sun’ makes great use of harmony vocals against the finger-picked guitar. Musically, it has a much deeper feel than the opener; the arrangement has a haunting ‘Scarboro Fair’ quality and Luckett’s guitar work is brilliant but not too showy. It’s song which looks for the positive, but again there’s a melancholy air.

‘A Day at the Beach’ has a musical and vocal fragility. On the surface, the lyrics deal with unhappiness; the narrative would suggest that it’s no ordinary seaside trip – if we go, we may never come back. If the kite doesn’t lift our troubles away, if we can’t dig deep enough to find the answers, we’re headed for a new life on the sea bed… Looking deeper, I think the seaside is just a metaphor for a “happy place”; that place of carefree innocence; a place where we feel safe and without responsibility…if we could throw the shackles of the real world away, forget everything and go back to a happy place, would it change things for the better? If we stayed somewhere without responsibilities, would it be possible to reconnect with the happy feelings buried inside us, or are they buried so deeply, there’s no chance of escape?

‘The House of The Dead Stereo’ has a similar reflective quality, telling a tale of somewhere once full of music, happiness and laughter; a place fondly remembered, but a place now soundless and empty. It captures a feeling of going back somewhere and it having somehow changed, even though you desperately want that place to feel the way it always did. ‘The House of the Dead Stereo’ is a piece I believe could resonate with those who often see things through rose-tinted glasses. Musically, it starts gently but builds to a climax with an upbeat drum shuffle, while an out of tune trumpet creeps in and helps to keep things off-kilter. There’s a sadness surrounding the sounds of happiness and the laughter from ghosts of the past here – and it’s that unsettling quality which makes this EP alluring.

Despite sounding musically light, ‘Little Ray of Sunshine’ is a downbeat journey which takes the listener through moods of with unhappiness, depression and disappointment. For those of you who like acoustic work and songwriting to think about, this EP should be on your list of things to check out.

Visit Rabbit in the blood here.

March 2010