Album review: Black Rabbit George | Charles

Black Rabbit George is the alter ego of Tijuana Cartel front man Paul George, a band whose high octane, celebratory live shows and eclectic musical output have made them firm favourites across the Gold Coast musical landscape over many years.

Under his Black Rabbit George guise, George channels a somewhat different beast, stripping things back and portraying his more introspective side with a decidedly delicate, roots/folk based musical approach. Think prettily moody, finger picked guitar motifs with ethnic undertones, augmented with dreamy synth flourishes and steadily insistent drum loops, married to a deeply personal lyrical approach which George has described as “ramblings from my head and soul”.

And for his much anticipated debut album, ‘Charles’, these hallmarks are on display in a consistently evocative and memorable manner, delivering an impressively sequenced sonic journey across the album’s seven tracks.

Opening number, ‘Lebensmude’, (a German expression equating to ‘weary of life’), unfurls the sonic palate of Black Rabbit George, a steadily building instrumental incorporating a hypnotic guitar and bass motif. ‘Saline Drip’ invokes misty mountain tops with its ethereal yet insistent strum and throb, its gorgeous folk guitar motifs and insistent drum patterns injected with tastefully subtle synth washes and echo-laden vocals. Meanwhile, ‘Diamond Valley Mushroom’ melds what sounds like an early 80’s drum machine pattern with a funky bass throb and slightly tripped out lyrics, serving as one of the album’s high watermarks.

Across ‘Charles’’ latter half the insistent ‘Bring You In’ ups the tempo while not sacrificing the moody, ethno/Spanish guitar vibes that serve as a consistent calling card across the entire album. ‘Boom To Master’ and ‘Water Colour’ deliver a twin dose of instrumental folk-tronica, and the album departs to the strains of its title track, further showcasing its protagonist’s other key strength, his heart-worn vocal approach and stream-of-personal lyrical concerns, further invoking a wanderlust and yearning spirit inherent in both the album’s grooves and the muse of its creator.

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