On their first two albums, Red Red Meat built their signature sound by taking the blues, filtering it through their druggy post-punk sensibilities, and bending it into something that was all their own. But with 1995's Bunny Gets Paid, Red Red Meat began twisting their music into new shapes that were all but unrecognizable from the original source materials; one can find bits of rock and blues if they sift long enough through these shards of sound, but the final product is more of a descent into the maelstrom of lo-fi experimentalism. Bunny Gets Paid is a deliberately ramshackle set in which the guitars sound fractured and spare when they aren't roaring within an inch of their lives, the humming of the amps is transformed into an instrument, the keyboards buzz and squawk, primitive string charts rise and fall out of the mix, the rhythms manage to be lethargic and insistent at the same time, and the lyrics rarely make much literal sense but generate a palpable dread that suggests some glorious bum trip captured on tape. In hindsight, Bunny Gets Paid is the logical precursor to the music guitarist Tim Rutili, drummer Ben Massarella, and bassist Tim Hurley would later make with Califone (as well as the sort of soundscapes Brian Deck would construct as a producer), and there are some moments of freaked-out majesty to behold. But Bunny Gets Paid is a grand experiment, and like many experiments it isn't a complete success; many of these tracks tend to meander as they search for their sonic destination, and while the harder-hitting tracks like "Rosewood, Wax, Voltz and Glitter" and "Chain Chain" are more immediately exciting, they lack the sense of musical wanderlust that make "Gauze" or the title track compelling even when they get lost in the woods. Bunny Gets Paid was the first leg in a new creative journey for the members of Red Red Meat, and even if the places they would later go have proven more rewarding, there's enough adventure in this music to justify joining them for the trip.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming