A few years ago Andreas Weiss didn’t know if his band, The Rabid Whole, had a future. They’d put out a debut album, but then hit a number of a setbacks and the band began to dissolve. However, lucky for us, Weiss isn’t a quitter. He moved to Toronto (Canada), recruited new members and started his journey afresh and, I’ve got to say, his trials have obviously flavoured his music. Rabid Whole’s first single is called “Future”, and sets the tone for the album. Refuge is a collection of songs which reflect on the harsh realities and dark moments in life without losing sight of one’s goals.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Rabid Whole’s new album, Refuge, contains ten tracks of quality rock songs that practically vibrate with energy. Perhaps the first thing I noticed upon firing up Refuge is that we start out hard and fast. The first couple of songs “Future” and “Metro” come in swinging and set the tone of rapid-fire rock. What really stands out though is the well coordinated contrast between Andreas’s rough and ready vocals and the softer, girlish voice of Rabid Whole’s other vocalist, Chalsey Noelle. The band not only uses both vocalists to their advantage, but doesn’t make the mistake of over-using them, nor putting their distinct styles in where they don’t belong. The vocals, masculine and feminine alike, are used when they make sense, as though the voices were just another set of instruments. It makes for a unified sound throughout the album and lets the group set deeper moods for each song.
Speaking of voices, the lyrics are a powerful blend of smooth rhyming and depth. As mentioned above, we’re presented themes of being down and out and rising again, of being on the edge of despair and striving toward a goal just the same. It’s inspiring stuff. Still, while the lyrics are presenting serious subject matter the instrumentals are catchy and energizing. The overall tone of the album is upbeat and the sound is infectious.
Toward the end of the album things slow down a little. Tracks such as “Rhythmic Reflect” take a more relaxed, mellow sound. It’s a relaxing wind down and I think these latter tunes do a nice job of showing Rabid Whole can do soft and easy just as well as they can do pulse-pumping. We get some especially good guitar work toward the end of “Delusion” which has a slower, rhythmatic style.
From start to finish Refuge presents a strong, varied and beautifully polished album. Whether we’re getting revved up with songs like “Future” or grooving in the softly sweet “Serenity Falls” the band comes across as finely coordinated. They operate really well together and show a willingness to experiment and play off each other. I’m on my third listen-through of Refuge and I haven’t found a thing about which to complain. I definitely recommend checking out this LP, we’re going to be hearing more of Rabid Whole.
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