Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Wet Rabbit

Welcome back to the friendly confines of the Concert Closet fellow progheads!  It has been a wild and interesting 2016 thus far, and it is only getting better!  This week the Concert Closet disembarks in new territory...Hungary.  Yes, I have "stabbed" a new push pin into the search for all things prog map this week.  So please come on in and enjoy with me the somber, melodic, jazz infused sounds of Wet Rabbit.

Wet Rabbit claims to play "...progressive rock with electronic roots..."  Interesting lead-in; I sense a generalization that requires deeper investigation.  Let us then walk straight to the prog buffet with a hearty appetite, curious mind, and objective thought process.

The first sound waves to travel the headphones are that of a dark, somewhat mysterious piece called "Of Clocks and Clouds."  The song opens tranquil yet somber; you can feel the cold and dampness as the rain soaks you...and when the vocals cut through picking up the tempo, a dark mood hangs like so much angst and disappointment.  Emotions run strong through this piece, albeit dark and ominous ones.  Wet Rabbit seems to pull on heartstrings that are worn from overuse; feelings are strained and darkness is only too happy to fill the void.  Oh my; what an introduction to Hungary!

Round two is a bit of an ambient indulgence; a tune called "The Last Whale."  The song opens quite portentously; I feel as though I am on a whaling ship at sea stalking what must be the last of these beautiful creatures...Adrian Belew would surely be proud--from a music standpoint.  As the guitar begins to fill the abyss, I sense some strong emotions oozing into to my cranium via auditory canals. Top notes have a "King Crimson meets Pink Floyd...The Early Years" feel to them.  One of the trademarks of prog music is the ability to express passion and feelings without uttering a single syllable.  Wet Rabbit silently punches you in the gut without leaving you wheezing for air...you just want the ship to keep sailing...

Liner Notes...Calling Budapest, Hungary home, Wet Rabbit is yet another one man prog dynamo.  Zoltan Sostai is the "mad man" behind the curtain.  Zoltan writes, produces, and plays almost every instrument; Kinga Szabo is credited for writing and performing the piano pieces on the two songs reviewed here.  There is an electronic vibe to the Wet Rabbit sound...Zoltan does use a lot of synthesizer--even for the bass.  However, the drums are traditional as is the guitar work and vocals.

Wet Rabbit takes a page from the psychedelic/art rock early days of Genesis, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, and King Crimson...but there is so much more to this sound than simply following a trail blazed all those years ago.  Wet Rabbit takes the baton and runs the next lap through the prog garden, crossing acreage occupied by both standard bearers and newbies.  The result is a sound that transcends, excites, soothes, and pushes one to think.

The third piece I sink my ears into is another dark thought-provoker called "Easy If You Try."  The opening thunderstorm is but a forewarning, and as the synthesizers slide in, they lay a foundation for some intriguing vocals.  There are aromatics of Keane coming through on this piece...the questions raised poke your sense of self-awareness...

I chose the song below to whet your appetite for what is an absorbing concept album.  The song is called "Kill The Robots, Part 5."  The video is almost startling as you realize the boundaries of the human mind stretch as far as we allow them to.  Wet Rabbit keeps stretching--searching for the breaking point--taking the process a step further...challenging your belief in all that is absolute.

With something this profound as the debut release, I am already eager to hear the next round of concept prog coming from Hungary.  Once you play this cut I believe you will want more...so to satisfy that urge, please check out Wet Rabbit's bandcamp page and make a purchase at
Wet Rabbit Bandcamp.  You can also check out the band's Facebook page, Wet Rabbit Facebook.  If you are still intrigued--and you should be--dig a bit deeper at the Wet Rabbit website Wet Rabbit. Other links are available there, and of course there is always Twitter @WetRabbitMusic.

Well fellow progheads the search for all things prog continues to take the Concert Closet all over the world listening to all kinds of sub-genres under the prog umbrella.  Wet Rabbit mixes electronic with some traditional jazz qualities to create a sound that hearkens to when prog was unafraid--almost proud--to release music that confounded radio stations.

While "Of Clocks and Clouds" does not attempt to challenge, live up to, or compare with "Tales From Topographic Oceans," it does follow the trail Yes so bravely cut through the prog garden in 1973.  The music paints pictures, tells stories, and takes the listener on a journey designed to make one think.  Zoltan may fill the canvas with dark colors, but he fills the mind with bright rays of light and a strong desire to penetrate the delicate veil that surrounds this entire album.  The trip to Hungary was seven days well spent, and now the Concert Closet continues the quest to find more "thinking man's prog."  Until next week...

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