Live in Portland April 9, 2018 | Doug Fir Toronto’s Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are …
Boston’s eclectic ten-piece Electric Collective sometimes served as the back-up band for Slick Rick before halving and reworking into the quintet Bad Rabbits. That should give you some idea of Bad Rabbits’ style—they are funky and happy and go with the flow. It’s the best throwback of tunes with refreshing twists. But the most important thing here? It’s booty. Unashamed, in your face, let’s-dance-all-night booty. While that may be the most important focus, there is a lot going on here. Their 2013 album American Love is their take on melding sounds and influences. They are a diverse group—some first generation Americans—with families hailing from West Africa, India, and Argentina.
Fredua Boakye’s vocals playfully narrate along fast beats and fat bass in an environment of late-seventies disco, R&B, and Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing (Riley is also a friend who helped produce debut EP Stick Up Kids). There are retro synths and down key harmonics (such as “Dance With You”), and sometimes outlandish choruses. They can bring to mind Cameo, Outkast, or perhaps a little Maxwell. But with the presence of two guitarists (Santiago Araujo and Salim Akram), they beef up the R&B and soul into a fuller sound weighted with rock, even laying down a few heavy riffs as on “We Can Roll.”
The guys seem to embrace transition and experiment often. In the past, they have played metal house shows and the Vans Warped Tour, do a fantastic cover of Deftones’ “Sextape,” and recently went adventuring into acoustic territory with this year’s Dusted. The album uses piano, shifting rhythms, and Boyake’s belting and breathing vocals to create an entirely different mood for Bad Rabbits’ singles, particularly the sensual beauty and strength behind “Can’t Back Down.” Their latest single, “Better Days,” seems to grow further by fusing a more polished pop sound with soul, while wishing everyone well and calling to action to share positivity and pay it forward. »
– Brandy Crowe