7 Year Rabbit Cycle

Ache Horns

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Say what you want about the pun of the title, but Ache Hornes shows that 7 Year Rabbit Cycle have a slowly elegant way around low-key rock as mood music. Starting not with drums or guitar but with nothing more than Ches Smith's measured, melancholy vibes on the opening "Untitled," the sextet's way around catching and holding the attention suggests the understated power of groups like Low or Codeine, but in its own striking, often disruptive fashion. The extended pauses between drum hits and one-note riffs in the center of "Puppies," for instance, suddenly disrupts what had been a steady, descending chord progression -- not to mention that the volume of said drums from Smith makes the Deerhoof nod in the liner notes quite understandable, especially as the break builds to an explosive but still somehow restrained climax. Kelly Goode's singing feels less like a lead and more like an observing voice and contributing instrument at many points, as songs such as "1234" demonstrate, but that doesn't mean she can't belt it out as needed -- check out her suddenly cutting singing on "Pirate" and "This Makes Me a Barn Burner" for strong examples. The core of the group feels in the end to be its three guitarists, often balancing open-ended, harsh feedback scraggles and a constant, never-varying melodic core, always aiming for a general counterpoint to each other. The lengthy "Magic Yam, Pt. 2" shows this interplay at its most open, building from near quiet notes to an explosive midsection that transforms into a stop-start conclusion, with Goode providing a haunting, unnervingly sad anchor. In the meantime, short minimal pieces along the lines of "Untitled" -- the solo guitar turn on "Historic C Ranch" and the full-band but extremely stripped-down "Wren," itself an enjoyably unexpected take on a Shel Silverstein lyric -- provide a fine balance against the lengthier compositions.

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