In 2001, The Strokes released their landmark debut album, Is This It. Upon its release, the album was immediately successful and had a huge impact on popular music at the time. Coming after the grunge heyday of the ’90s, their simple no frills sound paved the way for other indie rock bands like The White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys to achieve mainstream success. Their immediate success, both critically and commercially, proved that vintage rock sounds could still be successful in today’s music scene. Without The Strokes, many of the rock bands we know and love today may not have even got off the ground. Here at OurStage we have many great up-and-coming rock bands, but one band in particular, The Black Rabbits, have a sound that is quite similar to that of The Strokes.
Like The Strokes, The Black Rabbits have a sound that takes its influence from classic rock, but also has a modern touch which makes them unique. If you listen to their song “Hypno Switch,” you can hear some immediate similarity to The Strokes’ song “Trying Your Luck.” Both songs are recorded at about the same tempo and are based around slightly distorted guitar chords. Like The Strokes’ singer Julian Casablancas, The Black Rabbits’ singer Jetson Black possesses a deep croon that is rough around the edges, but is still melodic and in tune. However, while “Trying Your Luck” has a relatively dark tone, “Hypno Switch” is a more upbeat affair with a really catchy wordless chorus. “Hurry, Hurry” is another track that is similar to the sound of The Strokes. With the guitar, bass and drums playing in almost rhythmic unison, the focus of the song is on Black’s vocals. The song is more somber than “Hypno Switch,” but Black’s deep voice still fit this style perfectly. “For Way Too Long Now” is another song in this vein, where simple guitar chords allow a catchy vocal melody to shine through. The chorus also finds Black using the kind of distorted growl in his vocals that Julian Casablancas has made famous.
However, The Black Rabbits are not afraid to show off their pop influences. “Emotion” is an incredibly catchy tune that does just that. Beginning with palm-muted guitar chords and vocals, the song continues to build energy during its verses. Of course, the chorus of the song is what will be stuck in your head for days. Unlike The Strokes, the band uses a piano to create an interesting contrast of sound with the guitar. And on top of that, the vocal melody is incredibly catchy”it will probably have you singing along after the first listen. Also unlike The Strokes, The Black Rabbits are not afraid to strip down their sound and go acoustic. “Painter, Poet, Prophet, Priest” is a delicate ballad that features only an acoustic guitar, vocals and a very distant-sounding keyboard. With a diverse range of sounds and influences, The Black Rabbits are putting their own spin on the rock revivalism that The Strokes started a decade ago.
You can buy The Black Rabbits’ album Hypno Switch on iTunes.