For their debut full-length album Beauregard, Pepper Rabbit’s tunes could be called things such as “familiar,” “popular” and most definitely “indie.” And while these terms are accurate, there is more simmering beneath the surface than just another Silver Lake hipster gem. They have the multi-instrument folk-with-echoes style down pat. They’ve earned comparisons to label mates Grizzly Bear. But there is a warmth to their dreampop that makes them stand out. You know it sounds a lot like songs you’ve heard before, yet you are drawn into their swirling world of clarinets, ukuleles and piano.
The Pepper Rabbit duo is Xander Singh and Luc Laurent, two traveling fellows who have lived in locations from India to New Orleans. Adding to their indie cred, they have now settled in L.A. They’ve released a few EPs prior to Beauregard snatching up several of those tracks.
The album opens with, “Clarinet Song,” a track inspired by its title with sparse clarinet at the start and then opens up to a simple, yet beautiful arrangement with accompanying echoing vocals. The highlight and lead track comes smack-dab in the middle of the record with, “Older Brother.” This sunny little ditty is an instant hum-along with a simple sweetly-strumming guitar that sounds like it would be perfectly at home around the campfire. The band ends with “Send in the Horns” a mash of jingle and church bells gently rest next to Singh’s barely-there ethereal vocals and throwing in a little trumpet.
For a band to be simultaneously, warm and haunting is not an easy feat. And while you could easily lump Pepper Rabbit in with the other rest of indie rock bands of the genre, they hold their own and deserve a listen. I know my ears will certainly perk up whenever these Rabbits are mentioned.
Words: Lori Bartlett