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CD Review: Sky Rabbit

If you liked Lounge Piranha’s Going Nowhere, then there’s a good chance you’ll like this debut album by six-year-old indie/post-punk outfit Sky Rabbit. Quirky and talented, the artists formerly known as Medusa have regrouped as a fresh entry into the alternative scene in India. The Mumbai-based band consists of Raxit (vocals), Rahul (guitar), Siddharth (bass), and Harsh (drums).

Helter Skelter: Sky Rabbit
Sky Rabbit album cover.

Album opener ‘Anti-Coke Ganpati’ (yes, that’s what it’s called) is like a lackadaisical Vampire Weekend—almost puerile in its melody but enjoyable nonetheless. ‘March’ is much the same: Raxit’s deadpan vocals drone over terribly simple arrangements, almost as if Sky Rabbit was attempting to make the next ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’. Raxit’s vocals work best, however, when he substitutes the Cake-like nonchalance for vague melancholy, as on the aquatic ‘Swimmer’, which seems suited for epiphany-filled nighttime drives through a deserted city. The dark ‘Try’ also makes good use of his overcast vocals.

However, the best song on this album (and only real stand-out) is the potential radio hit ‘I Become I’. Sky Rabbit’s best Lounge Piranha impression provides the backdrop for vocals that mirror their lyrical content in the wonderful world-weariness. “West will be east, east will be west; setting sun will rise, rising sun will set; round and round we’ll go; but I, I become I,” sings Raxit, putting into beautiful words the humdrum sigh of a man much older than himself.

Unfortunately, it is only on ‘I Become I’ that Sky Rabbit sounds like a band in its own right. On the whole, their lyrics are forgettable and mumbled; the melancholy in Raxit’s voice occasionally becomes forced. Throughout Sky Rabbit, there is a plethora of indie/alternative references: everything from Pavement (vaguely) to Belle and Sebastian (hazily), maybe even Broken Social Scene (indistinctly). But here is the band’s problem. Their music often sounds like it’s made up of only references: inorganically stitched together into a quilt of borrowed musical snatches that, given its fragments, sounds vaguely pleasant but on closer inspection clearly lacks any sort of originality or quintessence.

There’s a lot of buzz around this young band, at least partially due to a miraculous transformation from their previous incarnation to their current status as an alternative act. Whatever may be the reason, in my soundest opinion, the hype around Sky Rabbit is largely unwarranted. Listen, but only to confirm this assessment for yourself.

Neeharika Palaka enjoys indie rock, Internet memes, and random information with the pseudo-intellectual pretentiousness of a true Dravidian.

Was it good for you?

  • Kunal Pawar

    Best review on this album. “Whatever may be the reason, in my soundest opinion, the hype around Sky Rabbit is largely unwarranted.”…Totally agree with this. I heard them live a couple of time and they are strictly okay. As you mentioned ‘I Become I’ is the better of their songs. I also quite liked ‘Hilltop’ but that’s about it

  • They’re hardly indie what with being signed to EMI, no? 

    And Vampire Weekend is being far too kind. The opening track sounds like a baby singing a further fucked up version of an obscure Lady Gaga/Pumped Up Kicks remix. And the reference stitching sounds a little like Lana del Rey. 

    I’ll pass. 

    Some website gave this album 4/5, I’m guessing they’ll be calling Going Nowhere ‘seminal’ in a few years’ time. 

  • Bhanuj Kappal

    ^^Where on ‘Anti-Coke Ganpati’ do you hear Lady Gaga/ Pumped Up Kicks? I know you want to name-drop and act all music elitist prick, but at least stick to believable criticisms. 

  • Bhanuj Kappal

    As for the album, it’s let down by the flat production. There’s some really nice songs on there, but they don’t work on the record like they do live. 

  • Nigel

    I watched these guys live a few months ago, and was taken by their energy and enthusiasm. These guys are still young and heading in the right direction however immature their sound is now. 

  • Bhanuj – I don’t know which universe you’re from where Lady Gaga/Pumped Up Kicks qualifies as name dropping. If you think your thunder was stolen, I apologise profusely – you’re the alpha male music critic here, I’m just someone who writes about the stuff.

  • And oh hey, you came up with the ‘damn production values’ argument?
    Seriously? In 2012?

    Now, I’m wondering if you know how to spell ‘DIY’ in the
    first place, but clearly that’s just me.

  • Bhanuj

    I’m not even sure where you’re going with this argument. If the production sucks, it sucks. And DIY does not mean flat, boring production.

  • Bhanuj

    My thunder is stolen? On a Helter Skelter comments thread? Sure, and I’m also the one who posted a link to this on twitter complaining that I called you an elitist prick eh?

    Gotta get a thicker skin, son. If you can dish it out, you should be able to take it as well.

  • Bhanuj

    Apart from that, ‘music elitist prick’ might have been harsh, but I wasn’t being the alpha male music critic or anything here, I didn’t even know if you were a critic or not. I was just pointing out the ludicrousness of the Sky Rabbit – Lady Gaga comparison. It’s ludicrous irrespective of whether or not I write good reviews or if my writing is only good enough to be used as toilet paper.

  • I won’t call you ‘supercool’ on Twitter, if I was indeed complaining about this. The Twitter post was for folks to come around and watch us bicker. See, you even got a ‘Like’ on your comment. C’est la vie. 

    Either way, the ‘scene’ could use a little more ‘complaining’. I am a music elitist prick, so don’t feel bad about saying that, really. And ‘dad’, I hate to break it to you, but, I’m not your son. 

  • Okay. 

    Let me explain it to you then. 

    DIY = doing your own songwriting, production, distribution and other management. 
    Being signed to EMI = not. 

    Since Sky Rabbit is indeed signed to EMI, and have indeed been around for long enough as Medusa (who I now realize I actually did like), flat production is hardly excuse/reason enough for their album sounding mediocre. The songwriting needs more insight, the teeny-bopper bassline needs more bite. In a world where there are enough artists who care enough about their songs to actually have the ‘right production values’ in place, I couldn’t find a reason to tune into Sky Rabbit’s Sky Rabbit. Which is why I said I’ll pass. 

  • Okay, so you didn’t get a reference. That’s not so bad, you could’ve just asked me to explain, you know. I’m a patient man, when it comes to music geekery. 

    The Lady Gaga/Pumped Up Kicks line was about the fact that ‘Anti-Coke Ganpati’ gets stuck in your head regardless of whether you consciously like it or not. It’s just a rehash of proven melodies and pseudo-earnest lyrics. Much like ‘Woo-la-la-romance.’ 

    I’m not asking you to not like the song because of the same reasons I don’t. If your music writing is indeed better than toilet paper, you’ll find your own reasons, I’m sure. But it sure isn’t just ‘flat production values’. 
    Finally, I do concur about you putting up ‘Alpha Male Music Critic’ on your Twitter bio.

The Tap #10

By Ramya Sriram