Review: The Bunny Gang – Thrive

Review: The Bunny Gang – Thrive

The Bunny Gang – Thrive
Track Listing:
1.) The Reckoning
2.) Sirens Through The City
3.) Illegal Market
4.) Thrive
5.) Beach Coma
6.) Waves
7.) We Are The Ones
8.) Uprise Underground
9.) Pave The Wave
10.) Running
11.) Canoe Dub

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: September 23rd, 2014
Record Label: Hardline Entertainment
Official Website: The Bunny Gang Website

Group Background:
The Bunny Gang, originally formed in the South Bay beach towns of southern California, moved to Denver to focus on an international platform. Here, original members Nathen Maxwell, his father Maxwell and Mike Perelta crossed paths with Nat Lort Nelson. The Gang solidified their sound and vision in 2012 when they recorded at the Sonic Ranch with producer Ryan Hewitt. Peaceful anarchists, the Bunny Gang are family men. Solidarity and conscious revolution are a recurring theme in their music and lifestyle.

Album Review:
After reading the album promo, I was really excited to hear this album which was touted as “Transcending Musical Boundaries” and “Built on a creative revolution”. I understand the promo game, and hyping an album is all part of the process, but after listening to the album I couldn’t help thinking the preceding quotes were a massive oversight in the presentation of Thrive.

This album does cross the boundaries of Reggae, Folk and Punk; boundaries that are presently nonexistent, but have been crossed many times since the 70’s, and many times more creatively. The influence of the Clash, and Joe Strummers post Clash catalog are undeniable as well as 90’s era punk-rock, including Flogging Molly, Nathen Maxwell’s full time band.

The Album begins with “The Reckoning”, a catchy political rock song with a Reggae influence that can be heard in the bass line under the distorted guitars.

“Sirens Through the City” is a great song, maybe the strongest on the album, starting off with an off beat Ska chuck, warping into a dub influenced riff led rock song. I couldn’t help but drawing a comparison to the UK band the Dead 60’s. I love the over-driven bass tone in this song and the breakaway from your standard: verse, chorus, verse, chorus structure. In this short song, The Bunny Gang manages to fit in a lot, without it feeling forced.

The guitar, especially the tone, on the title track “Thrive” is awesome. I am hoping the line, “Slow Down Sister”, is a nod to the Warsaw Poland Bros. Ska classic. “Thrive” is another example of the Bunny Gangs strength in song writing and ability to take the listener on a journey without it feeling forced. This is where I feel like the Bunny Gang really shines.

“Beach Coma” had me confused – It’s like the band went soft for the sake of going soft. Then in my confusion, “Waves” comes a long. I hear the opening sample: “You’re gonna have to listen to it again, otherwise you won’t realize what you just heard… I hope you understand where my heart was when I wrote these things” – It was eerie, like the Bunny Gang knew people may not get the record up to that point, and I surely didn’t, but that was enough to get me to really listen and dig deeper.

“Canoe Dub” stretches out with a laid back vibe that turns a little harder on the chorus and explores the production capabilities of the Sonic Ranch. Melodica, big reverbs and a driving bass bring this album to a close. I wanted to hear more of this on the album.

I really like Nathen’s voice and think The Bunny Gang can write great songs while at the same time paying a respectful tribute to their influences. As previously mentioned, presenting this album as crossing nonexistent boundaries was a huge miscalculation (especially for a site that focuses on just that). With that being said, this is a good album, it has meaning, style, power & it’s recorded very well, going from Rock to Stoney and Punk to Folk. If you like the Clash, this album will be in your rotation for a while.

Written & Reviewed By: Tommy Dubs (of A Sunny Place For Shady People)

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]