In late November, Boston's self-proclaimed "post-R&B" band Bad Rabbits released a new song called "We Can Roll." The response to the tune — a guitar-heavy song mashing together funk-tinged keyboards, deep rhythmic grooves, and Fredua Boakye's anguished soul vocals — was overwhelmingly positive. The video for the song, featuring live footage of the band and an abundance of stage-diving fans, received more than 20,000 views on YouTube within 10 days of release.
As it turns out, "We Can Roll" is the first song on the quintet's forthcoming album, American Love, due in spring 2013. For fans, this is momentous news: Bad Rabbits' last collection of new music — the Stick Up Kids EP, a retro-sounding hybrid of soul, funk, and new jack swing — was released in late 2009. Of course, the group certainly hasn't been resting on their laurels since then; among other things, it had a grueling 2011 Warped Tour stint and tour with Taking Back Sunday.)
In fact, bassist Graham Masser believes the resulting album — which the band co-produced with a young Bay Area producer named Brad Lewis — reflects Bad Rabbits' evolution as a band. "There are a lot of songs on the record that are more [like] Stick Up Kids — more upbeat party songs," he says. "[But] this is an LP, so we spread out a little bit more in terms of the sound. It's not just 10 party bangers that you want to play when you're partying; it goes a little bit deeper and a little bit wider in terms of the style. There's some more, I guess I would say, heavier songs — more, like, rock-oriented — but all the songs do tie in together.
"We're in a very different place personally than we were [when we released Stick Up Kids]," he adds. "We're not going to be able to keep putting out party records — it wouldn't be true to who we are. We're not going out and partying every night and getting hammered. We're working and living on different subjects, and the music is going to reflect that."
Still, guitarist Salim Akram is quick to stress that although Bad Rabbits have matured as songwriters, the progression was completely uncalculated. "I don't want to come across as this super-deep, pompous band," he says. "We take our music seriously, but not to the point where we sat down, like, 'All right, guys, our lives have changed. Let's put out a record that reflects where we are in our lives.' It's an indirect, subconscious move."
Bad Rabbits are currently figuring out details about American Love's release. In the past, they've eschewed labels and taken up promotional partnerships, like with Boston-based retailer Karmaloop. Whichever road they decide to travel with American Love, Masser is at least secure that fans won't mind waiting a little bit longer to hear it. "People in our fanbase are beginning to realize that we take our time," he says. "That's just the way we operate. We are very critical of ourselves and of our records — this is where everything stems from. So the records have to be the way that we want them to. We're not just going to be like, 'Eh, it sounds good. Good enough.' That's just not the way we operate. We take our time, but hopefully it's worth the wait."
BAD RABBITS + HERRA TERRA :: Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave, Boston :: December 31 @ 9 pm :: 18+ :: $25 :: 617.779.0140 or brightonmusichall.com