(Self-released, CD, digital download)
Black Rabbit’s self-titled EP is infrequently original, but it’s the debut of what might be one of your future favorite bands. The Burlington-based, husband-and-wife-fronted garage-rock trio is an excellent addition to the Queen City scene, and on Black Rabbit EP the three introduce themselves with an honest handshake. The album takes you on a short but bracing five-song ride from the garage to the road.
Taking cues from the Misfits and Hüsker Dü, Black Rabbit lean on the punk-rock side of business. The fitting starter, “Tibbar Tibbar,” leads with an aggressive burnout and screeches off into the distance with wild guitar solos.
“Neighborhood” recalls 1970s punk popularized by the likes of the New York Dolls. As Marc Scarano belts out a brief story about a modern-day criminal, bassist Darlene Scarano nails the backing vocals while delivering a firm low-end foundation. She sings and plays with simplicity and is rhythmically solid. Meanwhile, drummer Mark Tomase takes a classic, straight-up approach to keeping things in order.
The Scaranos’ vocal harmonies work well throughout, highlighting an important element of any good garage-rock band: a haphazard and passionate collaboration of audacious vocal deliveries.
“Things Change” showcases Marc Scarano’s cut-through guitar licks as well as his vocal prowess as he insists, “That’s the way I am, like it or not.” His high-toned delivery of the line sounds more like Brian Johnson of AC/DC than, say, Glenn Danzig.
“Eighty Nine,” the EP’s slacker-rock centerpiece, could be mistaken for a cut from a 1990s Sub Pop Records sampler. Loaded with unwieldy vocal hooks, the song establishes itself as a clean, California-style tune.
“Neutrino” is a suitable closer to Black Rabbit EP. It offers the repetitive but well-loved guitar riffage of ’90s bands such as the Breeders, but Black Rabbit omit unnecessary embellishments — for example, reverb is almost nonexistent. That bare-bones aesthetic signals an authentic, raw approach that bodes well for the band’s future efforts.
Rumor has it Black Rabbit will release new singles in the coming months. In the meantime, Black Rabbit EP is available as a free download at blackrabbitvt.bandcamp.com.