Sick sense

There's a madness to Bunnies' method
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  January 12, 2010

1001_bunnies-Main
HARE BRAINS? They may sound like quixotic wanderings, but the songs of Newman, Dubs, and Science are smartly charted out like secret missions, or scientific experiments.

"A guitar that goes doink can be as entertaining as someone singing la-la-la," insists Bunnies bassist Jack Science, on speakerphone with the rest of the band from their practice space, a desolate warehouse by the Connecticut River in Holyoke.

Science is speaking of Bunnies' ongoing affinity for what I call "interesting noises." But his observation also expresses Bunnies' æsthetic — it doesn't sound as if it made any sense, but deep down it does. Case in point: in Bunnies, guitars go doink.

Science and guitarist Jeremy Dubs, who also split vocal duties, uprooted themselves from Pennsylvania to move to Northampton five years ago, and they shifted the paradigm of their band in the process. The "e" in Bennies, their previous band, was swapped for a "u," and drummer Matt Newman was found on Craigslist. As for the conceptual modifications they made, Bunnies began penning cosmically inclined, lyrically abstract, structurally fluid stoner metal. Or maybe it's post-post-post-punk. Whatever it is, it sounds crazy.

"A lot of the noise sections of our songs are based on cues," Science explains. "There's a general idea of the sounds we're going to make, and then we move to those parts based on cues from one person or another."

"We know that they're choruses, but other people don't," adds Dubs.

"We felt like people weren't really thinking of the future," Science continues, "or there wasn't enough progress. So we did our future concept album." He says this in reference to Music for Dinosaurs by Dinosaurs. As for the next concept album: it's "about action — about doing."

Mission of Burma's Roger Miller produced Music for Dinosaurs in the summer of '08, and his crush on Bunnies is a matter of public record. Saturday's bill at the Paradise is only the most recent to include Bunnies and their envelope-pushing precursors. During their tenure as Bennies, they landed a handful of choice gigs opening for Burma and the Pixies — and as Bunnies, they played with Frank Black's Grand Duchy project this past summer. You'd think such illustrious associations would swell their heads — yet they get as animated when name-dropping barely known fringe acts like We Are the Seahorses as they do when mentioning Miller and Black Francis.

In fact, that last show they played with the Seahorses was a crucial turning point: caving in to misguided accusations of gimmickry, Bunnies resolved that no more would they perform dressed like pulp sci-fi characters. Dubs: "It's too much to worry about before a show. We'd rather focus on songs. But the last time I dressed up, I wore an inflatable dinosaur costume."

Of course, mere spectacle isn't what keeps a Bunnies show interesting (and least of all Dubs's confinement to a wheelchair, from osteogenesis imperfecta). The songs are their own distractions. Although they may sound like quixotic wanderings, Dubs has them smartly charted out like secret missions, or scientific experiments. Take the in-progress concept album — this Saturday, they'll unveil track one, which is dubbed "The Starting." "The album is breaking down the process of doing," says Dubs, "and when you're doing something, the first thing that happens is you start, and there's a process that you go through. We try to break it down and be scientific, sort of."

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Music Features , Entertainment, Entertainment, Music,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BARRY THOMPSON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS | WELCOME OBLIVION  |  March 13, 2013
    Whereas the monsters and ghosts of NIN songs can scream in your face and rip you to bits with their fangs, Welcome Oblivion tracks like techno-folk haunter "Ice Age" and the doom-pop jaunt "How Long?" make uncredited cameo appearances in your nightmares until you go insane and eat your own hands.
  •   JOHNNY MARR | THE MESSENGER  |  February 25, 2013
    Going solo is rarely a good decision. For every exception to the rule of who flourishes after unburdening themselves of the half-talents that have been holding them back — Justin Timberlake, for one — there are dozens of embarrassing Dee Dee Ramone rap albums that exist because Joey and Johnny Ramone weren't around to kibosh a terrible idea.
  •   WHAT'S F'N NEXT? BUKE AND GASE  |  January 29, 2013
    Almost every person I've told about Buke and Gase assumes that they'll hate this band, which isn't their fault.
  •   BLEEDING RAINBOW | YEAH RIGHT  |  January 23, 2013
    The only defect of the sort-of-but-not-really debut from Bleeding Rainbow (no longer called Reading Rainbow, possibly due to litigious ire festering under LeVar Burton's genial television persona) is that the Philly foursome merely hop off the launching point forged by Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and a handful of others from the oft-exalted grunge era.
  •   10 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED PLAYING IN BANDS IN BOSTON  |  January 25, 2013
    We hear you just moved to "the Bean", and you're thinking about starting a real life rock-'n-roll band! Here's a bunch of bullshit you should know about.

 See all articles by: BARRY THOMPSON