The Lotus Effect, Rabbits & Royalty EP

The Lotus Effect, Rabbits & Royalty EP

Normally, I get pretty annoyed when a songwriter just comes out and tells you what a song’s about; to my mind, that takes some of the joy out of the music, removing the personal interpretation completely from the equation. I mean, sure, if you think a song’s about X, but the songwriter says that, “no, it’s actually about Y,” you can be stubborn and hold tight to what you think…but you’ll be wrong. Because, well, the guy who wrote the freaking song knows best what it’s about, right?

So yeah, when a band comes up, unasked, and declares “this song is about Pat Tillman,” like The Lotus Effect do with regard to “Fireflies,” the mid-point track on the band’s debut EP, Rabbits & Royalty, my kneejerk response is a groan and a facepalm. Except that in a weird bit of synchronicity, I’d been reading Jon Krakauer’s excellent (so far, anyway) book about Tillman, Where Men Win Glory, and I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by the football star-turned-Army Ranger’s tragic, often-appropriated story.

It helps, too, that “Fireflies” is the best song on here by a mile, poignant and yearning but still heavy and crunchy. I’d liked it even before I knew what it was actually about, so knowing the background of the song adds to it, surprisingly, more than I’d figured it would. It starts off delicately but revs up steadily as it rolls along, incorporating some impressively intricate guitar lines and rhythms.

And I’ve got to hand it to the band, as well, for putting their money where their mouth is, at least with regard to this particular track — according to their Website, they’re donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of this EP to The Pat Tillman Foundation, which works to help veterans and their families (and The Pablove Foundation, which fights to find a cure for childhood cancer).

Opening tracks “Warhol” and “Mercucio” are fairly impressive, too, both decent chunks of metal-tinged alternarock. I like the little touches in the former, like the bit of guitar-noise in the break, and the song’s got a cool confused/desperate vibe to singer Dre Giles’ vocals. The chorus of “Mercucio” is damn cool, although the band lets the energy drop a bit much in the verses in-between; still, it’s a pretty good start for this band.

If I’ve got a complaint about Rabbits & Royalty, it’s that it feels like the band’s trying to do too damn much at once. I can hear the prog-rock influence in there, definitely, but I think there’s something to be said for laying back and not trying to fill every spare second on a track with a new riff, a new sound, a new rhythm. Several of the tracks hit that point, particularly “Simple Pages,” which hopscotches all over the place in terms of tempo and feel.

In “Fireflies,” for example, there’s a drum bit repeated about 2/3rds of the way through where it sounds like drummer Gabe hits some of those RockBlock things — it’s obvious that the guy’s a damn talented drummer, but there’s really no need to throw that extra little sound in there, y’know? It’s only a distraction from the song, which was unfolding just fine without it.

The best proof that the band doesn’t need to fill every nook and cranny, actually, is the final track on the EP, an acoustic version of the aforementioned “Fireflies,” where Giles sings alone over a solitary piano. It’s absolutely, heart-crushingly gorgeous, an impassioned howl out in the darkened night, just pain and uncertainty and sorrow all thrown down on tape without any kind of extraneous filler. The band demonstrates handily that they don’t need to throw all the junk in the pile.

In the end, the EP’s not perfect, but it’s a damn good start, and I’m liking where these guys seem to be headed; tighten it up a bit, and it’ll be golden.

[The Lotus Effect is playing The Progressive Collective Show at Fitzgerald's on 8/21/10, along with Cavernous, Hydra Melody, Cirrus Minor, After Time Has Passed, & more.]
(self-released; The Lotus Effect --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, August 20th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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11 Responses to “The Lotus Effect, Rabbits & Royalty EP”

  1. Randy Z on August 21st, 2010 at 7:38 am

    I agree… I seen them at a show in San Antonio a week ago and bought the cd… and dude, these guys have some glaring potential… and are “right now” hot!!! I am looking forward to hearing more from them though…. I can only see them getting better from here…

  2. yo on August 22nd, 2010 at 2:21 am

    conflict of interest.

  3. SCR on August 22nd, 2010 at 9:38 am

    We play no favorites here, yo.

    Dre does write for the site, but a lot of other people in bands do, too (several under pseudonyms), and they don’t always get glowing reviews, trust me. If I’d thought it was crap, I wouldn’t have hesitated to say so…

  4. Mike D on August 23rd, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Thought it was a fair review. Overall a promising EP with loads of potential. I would say that the guitars and drums could back down in parts and let the bass shine a bit or something similar. They’ll just keep getting better!

  5. Justin Payne on August 23rd, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I think its a little harsh, but hey thats the bizz. After playing with them this past Sat. with Cirrus Minor at the Progressive Collective i would say that they put on an amazing set and were as equally, bad ass dudes! Lets do it again!

  6. Gabe B on August 23rd, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Hey Jeremy, thanks for the constructive review. Enjoyed reading it, and seeing the responses. Hope you can make it out to a show, soon!

    -G of LE

  7. SPACE CITY ROCK » The Progressive Collective Hits Warehouse Live, This Saturday on February 2nd, 2011 at 10:43 am

    […] bands, both from here & elsewhere. There’s moody alternarockers The Lotus Effect, whom I like quite a bit (esp. “Fireflies”), twitchy, frantic, funk-edged rock dudes Peekaboo Theory, who are […]

  8. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 3: The Lotus Effect @ Warehouse Live on January 22nd, 2012 at 1:28 am

    […] there. They’re good people, and beyond that, they’re a damn good band. Their 2010 EP, Rabbits & Royalty, was pretty promising (esp. “Fireflies”), and I’m told they’ve been hard at […]

  9. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Daniel Johnston + Roky Erickson + Square and Compass + Holder + The Lotus Effect + The Dead Revolt + More on July 14th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    […] The Lotus Effect/Goodnight Neverland/The Dead Revolt/Electric Heights @ The Mink Last but far from least, there’s this cool-sounding show at The Mink. The guys in The Lotus Effect have had something of a rough year, losing their drummer and having to essentially rework their sound after getting partway done with recording the followup to their seriously promising debut EP, Rabbits & Royalty. […]

  10. SPACE CITY ROCK » Check Out Lotus Effect’s New Video & New Song, Then See ‘Em Live Tonight on July 12th, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    […] and an interesting Phrygian (I think?) bit of guitar phrasing. I liked the band’s 2010 EP, Rabbits & Royalty quite a bit, it’s true, but I also felt like the Lotus Effect guys were only starting to […]

  11. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Venomous Maximus + Featherface + New York City Queens + The Lotus Effect + Structures + Vildhjarta + More on November 9th, 2014 at 12:36 am

    […] The Lotus Effect. These guys are excellent, and I’m still looking for that followup album to their debut EP (y’all listening?), hoping for more tunes like “Fireflies” or […]

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