Summer’s underway and the band that should probably be part of this season’s soundtrack is Bad Rabbits, a mult-culti quintet out of Boston who ply a headnod-inducing brew of funk, rock muscularity, and 21st century new jack swing. The thing that I like about these guys is that American Love is bright. It feels like summer fun. The music takes you to a place where everyone’s young, beautiful and okay with letting their hormones roll the dice for them. But they’re also grown up enough to know that they’ve got to live with any consequences thereof.
Every album needs a strong opener, that music equivalent of “Call me Ishmael.” Watch The Throne had “No Church In The Wild.” Saul Williams’ Volcanic Sunlight had “Look To The Sun”. American Love opens with “We Can Roll” and you’re immediately struck with the band’s tightness and power. The song’s vibe almost makes it a rock joint.
“Can’t Fool Me” was an early focus track and the song they performed on their Jimmy Kimmel debut back in May. “Take It Off” is an invite to a woman to join in some post-show get-down. “Dirty” reminds me of a 2013 update of Usher’s “Good Ol’ Ghetto”.
As everyone knows, many times summer flings don’t end well. While it does keep things uptempo, American Love doesn’t shy away from stories of bad relationships. There’s “Get Up And Go” and one of the album’s standouts, “Sayonara,” one of the best break-up songs I’ve heard in a while. I mean, if this is your breakup jam, you’ll recover quickly.
Clearly, the secret sauce is lead singer Dua Boakye, whose voice is equal parts promise and yearning. He’s got a nice range, one that easily shifts from gravely to falsetto, and it’s his charisma that just draws you in. In the same way that you can’t imagine anyone other than Corey Glover fronting Living Colour, I’m not sure I’d want to hear anyone else lead Bad Rabbits.
The album’s best song, by far, is “Doin’ It”. By far, this is the album track that feels most like summer: Bright, hopefully, celebratory. Hopefully, there will be plenty of DJs rocking this over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer. Seriously, it’s that good.
Bad Rabbits are guys in their 20s ( I think), and their subject matter basically revolves around parties, girls and relationships. I’d love to hear them expand the subject matter they sing about. That said, they fully inhabit who they are at this point in their musical lives, which is being an impressive party rockin’ band.
That said, here’s the bottom line: American Love is the drive-to-the-beach album (thusfar) of summer 2013.