Rabbit in the Kitchen with a New Dress On

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The second album by Illinois indie rockers Shipwreck has such a deliberately limited musical aesthetic that before it's even half over, even the most minimally musically savvy listener can accurately predict what the rest of the album will sound like. Even on relatively slow songs like the hyper-dramatic "Black Moon," guitarists and singers John Owen and Harman Jordan reveal themselves to be one-trick ponies in terms of guitar sounds and arrangement ideas. Think back and mentally reconstruct the first minute of U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name," focusing primarily on the Edge's guitar part and Larry Mullen, Jr.'s drum pattern: this is the basic template of literally every song on Rabbit in the Kitchen with a New Dress On. The guitars are relentless in their high-register tweedle-eedle-eedle, and drummer Christopher Waage and bassist Vladimir Brilliant tend to favor the sort of tightly wound rhythms so popular among new wave revivalists in the years since the first Strokes album. When it works, as on the seriously Echo & the Bunnymen-like "Kiss in the Dark," individual songs can be appealing, if no less derivative. But listening to a whole album's worth of this is just deadening.

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