Boston quintet Bad Rabbits are back with a brand new EP, Dusted, their first project since 2013's American Love. Featuring acoustic covers of some of their most popular songs, including "Stick Up Kids," "We Can Roll" and "Can't Back Down," Dusted serves as both an easy introduction to the Rabbit's hybrid of rock, soul and R&B, and an extra-special bonus for long time fans.
Dusted (Acoustic EP) is now available for free, full stream via The DJBooth and digital purchase via iTunes.
Dusted EP (Acoustic EP) Album Review
That's exactly how I feel about Bad Rabbits' Stick Up Kids. Released in 2009, the EP is one of my favorite projects ever; it's right up there with College Dropout. In five years, there is no other album I have listened to more than Stick Up Kids. When they stepped in the studio, something incredible happened, and though it can't be measured by notes or octave, that special "je ne sais quoi" is tangible. It's something about the energy; there is a special spark to the EP.
With that in mind, I think you can understand my small yet biting concerns about their Dusted EP, which features acoustic covers of some of their classics. As much as I always want new Bad Rabbits, I worried how that magical energy would transfer over. Could "Stick Up Kids" sound the same with out the cascading instrumentals and Dua's intoxicating charisma sending me into a fever pitch? How would this effect my love for the original?
I always try to listen to an album in sequential order the first time, but with this one, I skipped right to "Stick Up Kids." If they could do this one right, it would help me come to grips with such a different vibe. To be honest, at first, it felt a little weird. It's like seeing a friend after a few years who looks completely different; the person is still that person, but they look so different, you can't help but feel differently about them. However, about mid-way through the acoustic, I realized this wasn't going to be your typical acoustic album; probably because Bad Rabbits ain't your normal band. Sure the acoustic vibe is there, but it's not totally acoustic, as the other instrumentals that are so vital to their vibrant sound are still ever-present. With "Stick Up Kids," Sheel Davé drumming stands out to me. Sure it isn't as cascading and face-melting as the original, but he manages to keep the pace and energy up, capturing the original without overshadowing Dua, who, as with any acoustic effort, drives the effort with his versatile vocals. Is it just like the original? No. Nothing ever could be, and I wouldn't want it to be. But this effort does capture what's so special about the original, while taking a song I have heard over 500 times and making it a whole new experience.
Of course, "Stick Up Kids" isn't the only song on the five track release. For a Bad Rabbits fanatic like me, this album was an adjustment. It's insanely dope in and of itself, but compared to their regular material, which is the equivalent of drinking 12 Four Lokos on a cocaine binge, it's different. It took a listen or two to really get adjusted, but once I did, I came to appreciate this body of work for what it is; a demonstration of what a tremendously talented group of musicians Bad Rabbits have become. I love the prototype for the energy and the immediate smile that appears across my face and I like the Dusted EP, because it's a much more rich, soulful sound and really displays for the listener how much talent the group possesses.
When you are too busy dancing you don't always hear Sheel's impressive fills, Santi and Salim's riffs, or Graham's funk basslines. And don't get me started on Dua's vocals. His voice is truly amazing; he has the charm and charisma of a pop star but the soul and range of a soul legend and on the Dusted EP he shows it. It's the same songs I know and love, but presented in a different light that makes clear what I'd already thought for so long; Bad Rabbits are some of the most talented musicians around.
Sometimes, a sequel or remake can ruin how you feel about the original - Jaws, Jurassic Park and Anchorman all come to mind - but the Dusted EP makes you appreciate the originals so much more. Without being hyperbolic, I believe Bad Rabbits is one of the best groups out right now. I don't think too many artists could capture the essence of their most special body of work, but put a completely different spin on it. I get that same special feeling I did back when I heard "Advantage Me" in my sophomore year dorm room (yes, I remember the exact time and place) but still get the rush of hearing something brand new. It's a listening experience I haven't had in a very very long time.... well, since the Stick Up Kids EP really.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins