Album: Gram Rabbit

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The Independent Culture

If you're going to start a cult, there are few better locales than the evocative landscape of the Mojave Desert, final resting-place of Gram Parsons and home to this intriguing alt.rock trio fronted by one Jesika von Rabbit, who co-writes the material with fellow guitarist/programmer Todd Rutherford, while third member Travis Cline operates samplers and adds "noise detail". The tongue-in-cheek tone of the entire project leads one to suspect a spoof of some sort, and as successive tracks prompt comparison with a string of different styles and artists, that seems ever more likely. "Dirty Horse", a spoken duet in which Satan complains of victimisation by Jesus, could be by The Handsome Family; "Cowboy-Up" and "Land of Jail" are techno-goth-rock exercises in the Garbage/Curve/Siouxsie vein; "Disco #2" is a languid blend of trip-hop groove and twang guitar, akin to Morcheeba; there are echoes of Low in the way their voices extend each other's yearning over the sheets of guitar in "New Energy"; and Jesika von Rabbit effects an uncannily accurate impression of Madonna on the lovely "Lost in Place". It's a diverse bunch of styles, for sure. But in each case, the pastiches - if that's what they are - are so skilfully handled that the tracks assume a genuine integrity of their own. Recommended.

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