For a band a bit over three years old, Fort Collins’ Fierce Bad Rabbit has produced a respectable body of music with two 15-track LPs and two EPs. Sure, they are artistically prolific, but perhaps more, they are hungry. This is a band a band working hard to get to that next level, and it deserves it.
On its previous three releases, Fierce Bad Rabbit had the solid songwriting of frontman and guitarist Chris Anderson as a backbone. And that works. Anderson is remarkably adept at straddling musical fences. His songs highlight the tension between joy and sorrow, both lyrically and musically, and he leaves crumbs of sweet pop hooks that navigate listeners through bramble patches of depth and complexity.
For its latest release, “The Maestro and The Elephant,” the band took a more collaborative approach, perhaps signally the full gelling of a band. Here, we find songs written and sung by viola player Alana Rolfe (Stella Luce) and drummer Max Barcelow (Dovekins) – and they’re good, fitting perfectly within the FBR collection. One has to wonder if this pressures Anderson to step-up his writing, or risk being overtaken, because all the music on this album shows a development in maturity. This collection of songs is more nuanced, and less reliant on pop music’s bag of tried-and-true tricks. It’s a potpourri of influences and styles; if there is any criticism, it might be that the diversity works against Fierce Bad Rabbit having its own musical identity.
Here, we leave you “Carry On” to steal. This song toys with delicate La-La’s and Ooos, and Anderson singing over sparse instrumentation, before rising to the bombastic chorus with Anderson imploring us to “Carry On.” For a less skilled band, flowing between these two moods would be jarring, but here it’s a smooth, natural transition. And live, the “Carry On” chorus will surely lead to hands raised in endurance and glory.
Fierce Bad Rabbit will host a release show on Friday, Jan. 11 at The Oriental Theater. The Yawpers will be on-hand to support. $10 tickets are available at HoldMyTicket.com. Stream the entire album at FierceBad.com.
Denver’s Instant Empire is releasing an EP they say is inspired by T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” You’re just gonna have to suss out the inspiration for yourself, but this short little EP is surely booze-fueled angst over lost youth. This is the most aggressive we’ve heard this band, and we like it.
Below, we give you “Flickering Youth,” where we are reminded that “we’ll never be younger” and “we’ll never be further from dead.” This isn’t a “enjoy every day” kinda song, either. This is a pissed off song, a song that wants to seize the day like it’s storming a castle. “I’m done with fate, it wasn’t worth the wait.” Here, here for self-determination.
Please note that downloads offered via Steal This Track are intended to whet your appetite, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.
If you’re a band or musician ready to expose your fresh sounds to the readers of Reverb, email your tracks — along with any interesting facts about them, as well as a photo or album art — to Steal This Track for consideration.
Josh Johnson is a Denver freelance writer and Reverb contributor. He is also a co-host/co-producer of the Denver podcast Denver Diatribe.