Release Date: Aug 9, 2011
Record label: Kanine Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
“I want it all/And you will know my name, dear Allison,” Xander Singh triumphantly sings atop a bed of swirling psychedelia and pulsating keys on “Allison”, a punchy track from Pepper Rabbit‘s sophomore LP, Red Velvet Snow Ball. Well, with a surprisingly confident vocal performance and a taste for all things whimsical, not only will Allison know his name, but, inevitably and imminently, the world of indie pop music won’t be able to avoid it. While the Los Angeles by-way-of New Orleans duo of Xander Singh and Luc Laurent’s 2010 debut, Beauregard, was a commendable demonstration of enchanting-yet-haunting, atmospheric pop, Red Velvet Snow Ball is not only an emphatic declaration of who Pepper Rabbit has evolved into as a band but also a jubilant collection of songs whose immaculate composition and undeniable charm demand, and deserve, attention.
Pepper Rabbit's lush and artful indie pop is crafted on a grand enough scale that it's hard to fathom it's the product of just two people, Xander Singh and Luc Laurent. But at the same time there's a sense of fun that shines through the many layers of overdubs, and the duo's second full-length album, Red Velvet Snow Ball, is an impressive and accomplished work, especially from a duo that's been working together less than two years. Singh and Laurent write fine melodies, and there are plenty of them on Red Velvet Snow Ball, but what really sets this apart is their keen sense of texture and mood; a unified melodic sense and a firm percussive backdrop hold the material together, but the fingerpicked acoustic guitars on "The Annexation of Puerto Rico," the vintage electric piano and stacked harmonies on "Murder Room," and the wobbly synth tones and Brian Wilson-styled banks of keys on "Tiny Fingers" give each song an individual character, as if this album were a big sonic variety pack full of different but complementary flavors.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that Pepper Rabbit is just two guys. Their brand of expansive, chiller-than-chill lo-fi chamber pop can, at its best, resemble the Arcade Fire at their most sedate, or their L.A. brethren Local Natives at their most electronic. Their sound is lush and friendly, a good-natured take on the already inherently good-natured popwave that’s been gently rippling through the indiesphere for some time now.
There are a lot of rabbits in the industry right now: White Rabbits, Frightened Rabbit, Rabbits Rabbits Rabbits. And now there’s Pepper Rabbit, the Los Angeles folk-pop duo of Xander Singh and Luc Laurent that walks in the minimalist footsteps rock laid this last decade. Together, they join the sudden onslaught of electronica-infused duos (Best Coast, Phantogram, Wye Oak, Sleigh Bells) that have become increasingly popular this year, with the majority of their sophomore effort comprised of Macbook-processed guitar and keyboards layered over synth drums.
Red Velvet Snow Ball is a haunting and charming sophomore effort by Xander Singh and Luc Laurent, the guys who make up L.A.-based Pepper Rabbit. The band first presented its sound as poppy, upbeat and rock-edged on its debut album, Beauregard, but on Red Velvet Snow Ball, the group drops the rock and dips into experimental sounds, making this a calmer and dreamy endeavor. “Lake House” opens the album with an ambient melody coupled with a militaristic drum beat.