Basic Concept

CD Cover Local Rabbits

Review by Darren Kerr

About eight years ago I caught a set by Montreal's Local Rabbits at the Palladium in Toronto. I thought they were a quirky, unpolished pop band with cowboy hats and a goofy attitude, but even then you could detect a precious stone amidst the rock. Basic Concept is that very emerald, mined, tumbled, and fabricated into a beautiful pendant that shines in the sun.

Peter Elkas has a reflective, melancholy voice akin to the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, full of texture and nuance. The harmony guitar leads of Elkas and Ben Gunning are always perfectly chosen, and despite the use of the word "harmony," they are not even remotely Allmanesque. Jay Tustin's drums are inventive and special, elevating these great songs, some of which are gems that lesser pop bands only have nocturnal emissions about.

Dig the shimmering, jazzy guitar parts in "This Lengthy Glance," the falsetto overload in the middle of "Nightingale," and the encouraging words for musicians in "Play On." But the wonderful "When You Return" is the point at which I place Local Rabbits on a pedestal. When the verses surge into the chorus, it is addictive bliss, like hard drugs flowing through my headphones, forcing me to hit repeat again and again.

Expect to find Basic Concept high on my year-end best list. Maybe even at the top.

Artist Contact Info: P.O. Box 2372 Halifax Central, Halifax, NS, Canada, B3J 3E4,

First published in Drop-D Magazine on May 18, 1998

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