Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Hague - Black Rabbit

A recently aired episode of the British comedy show “Outnumbered” had the youngest child wanting to stay home from school due to believing turning up at school would be too risky because it was Friday the Thirteenth. A number of other suspicions the little girl had learned from the next door were also run through during the course of the show although giving money to Albanians was correctly pointed out by her oldest brother as racism. An unmentioned old superstition suggests black rabbits crossing your path are a bad omen and even today it still is since the black rabbit is most likely a young child’s pet running away from home. However this Portland band The Hague’s “Black Rabbit” album found its way to my home. The band describes the music that they create as quiet songs played loud and it’s hard to disagree.

“Black Rabbit” opens with an instrumental ironically titled “An Open Book Conversationalist”. Despite its lack of words the song sets the tone of the album well with a poppy folk sound reminiscent of The Go-Betweens. A group harmony opens “Everyone in This Town” and the slick pop mixed with violin makes it next to impossible not to think once again of The Go-Betweens and the same goes for the occassional feminine vocals. Lyrically “I’m Sorry I Thought This Was a City” is a drunken reflection and a solitary profanity in the tune jars with jangly guitar. An assurredness rings loud in “Valkrie” due to The Hague’s collectively strong songwriting. Due to its sweet melancholy “Hour Glass” would fit comfortably on a Red House Painters or any other Mark Kozelek project with attention grabbing gentleness.

While the Hague do carry features of bands from last century, the band is definitely a product of this present age. Somewhere in the information I received along with this album, it is mentioned that all members of the Hague are bearded so make of that what you will. The music is really what counts and there’s not a bad song on this album although the folky group harmonies are the album’s weaker moments. Speaking loudly for the band is an unpretentious combination of shimmering guitar and violin with often unpredictable rhythmic structures. The The Hague’s songs are here to do the talking and there’s enough variation between songs which gives no reason to hit the skip button as this.

The Hague
had a successful kickstarter project going to raise funds for a vinyl for a version of the album.



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