End Of History Illusion

Mister Rabbit

Independent release, 2023


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


This first 11-tune album from Hamilton, Ontario rockers Mister Rabbit took three years to flesh out, and finds members Mitch Clark, Sean Smith and Jeff van Helvoort bringing to mind legends like Paul Westerberg and Wilco, or even more recent stars such as Phoebe Bridgers or Ruston Kelly. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Subtle Tribute” wastes no time opening the listen with Jake Dunn's thumping drums, van Helvoort’s tunefully gritty voice and Clark’s crunchy guitar in the crisp indie-rock climate that surrounds the theme of unrequited love. “Orphan Wells” then follows bringing a calmer pace of dreamy guitar alongside a warm Americana spirit, before “Stirring Absent Pots” finds itself in acoustic guitar territory amid van Helvoort’s poetic, personal singing.

Packed into the middle is the upbeat and nearly dance floor ready “Anyone,” which buzzes playfully and charmingly, while “Meanie” moves into hazy areas with a slight twang that weaves in and out of swirling, breezy textures that parallel the greatness achieved by genre-benders like Jim James or Jeff Tweedy.

Arriving closer to the end, the album's best track “Clear In A Haze” blurs indie-rock, Americana and folk ideas into a lush, eloquent and subtly intimate tune. At the close, “Ophelia,” the longest track, exits with both bare and busy moments that showcase the fluid drumming, intricate guitar playing and Smith’s very appreciated bass playing.

Though this is their debut, the trio who make up Mister Rabbit have lengthy resumes in the industry, and with the help of Jeff McMurrich on production (Constantines, Alvvays), Matt Snell's engineering (Dua Lipa, Banners) and Peter van Helvoort's mixing (bass player of The Glorious Sons), they transform van Helvoort's autobiographical stories into universally relatable songs with a distinct sonic approach and a highly heartfelt, very literate personality.

Rating: A-

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