Rabbit & the Storm
Strawberry Ferris Wheel "The rabbit and the storm" This is a listener guide courtesy of Rollingstone.com by Chris Jureo "The Rabbit and The Storm" is a lo-fi, hi-vibe concept record about fear, isolation, love and drugs. It shows these aspects in every component on the album. First off let's tackle the title. That, I assume it refers to the recorded storm that acts as a backdrop to the whole record. After a brief phone interview with the Strawberry Ferris Wheel's mad scientist Dave Echo he informed me that he considers the title to be the unofficial 9th song. But instead of it being a separate track, it's interwoven through the entire album. Mr. Echo recorded a thunderstorm in late spring 2010 from an opened window from his studio in Princeton, New Jersey going under the name Grey Sound. As the "rabbit" is concerned, he told me that he sat and calmed his frightened pet rabbit while the storm was churning outside for over an hour. So while this is not a song per say, it is a recording or a "record" of a heartfelt experience. Now since rabbits make no sound we will have to talk Dave's word for the presence of the rabbit that is named Humphrey. This idea, and the whole record in fact, is very reminiscent of an Elephant 6 record. So, the 1st tune "I don't want to feel" kicks off the album with a fuzzed indie-rock tune sure to be a classic. It has isolation and staying numb in the subject matter, which is very upbeat and catchy. Then the album starts to show it's true sonic colors in the ballad-ish "birds pt.1". This tune sounds to be in the vein of "candy says" another quiet but eclectic number from the Velvet Underground's moody and beautiful 3rd album (known as the grey album). There is even a reference to the band in the song "and listen to the velvets and drift away". Song 3 "the sun becomes blades" takes the record further in to the lo-fi/hi-vibe world. This song sounds like a straight to tape, one take, recording with the guitar and voice sometimes fighting for bandwidth and distorting each other. It's a recording no-no but a good production choice. The performance maxing out the recording device is a creative way to show pain by making the recording a bit painful. It reminds me of song Leadbelly recordings in vibe and production. "Stare at the lights" is the 4th tune and takes you out of the darkness a bit with a full band tripped out lo-fi rock song. It sounds like it should be from Oasis's later more psychedelic albums, but was cut because of the absence of Liam's snarl. The next journey into the madness of Strawberry Ferris Wheel is "the truth". This is a dark tune, sonically, performance wise, and lyrical content. It revisits the Leadbelly vibe of the 3rd track but steps up the creepiness. The song emerges out the storm interlude with a buzzing drone e-bowed acoustic guitar reminiscent of the Velvet Underground classic "heroin". From what I could make out, the words are talking to the evil people in the world and telling them about the day they die. Very haunting and captivating. Track 6 lifts you out of the storm with the static fuzz blaster "smoke moves slowly in red light". It's a long title for and song with no words. This song is well placed because you need a mind break from the dark almost biblical lyrics of the previous tune, the guitars power away as your brain resets and mood rises. Now enter a very My Bloody Valentine crafted cover of "silent night". Number 7 "the silent night" is sad, and beautiful. Layered feedback and distortion overloaded guitars saw blade their way through this timeless Christmas classic. The fact that a x-mas song is on an album just like a "regular" tune is an interesting idea and adds to the odd emotion flipping that this record emanates. The trip ends with a Neutral Milk Hotel like distorted fuzz-folk pop masterpiece. "The battles of the jello man" is an (I don't fit in the world) tell all kind of tune that makes you want to fight the world it wants to avoid. All the lyrical themes seem to come to a climax here with lines like "I used to care" and "every day I spend my time, I'm drugged out of my mind". After the final distorted vocal ends the track continues for a good 2 ½ minutes of the storm and slowly changes to what it sounds like birds, a plane and some sort of siren. When I asked Dave Echo about this, he said "I want the album to end with a feeling of hope....like the world will still be there after the storm." So all and all it's quite a record. It does take a bit of an open ear to get all you can out of it, but it's worth the effort.