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White Rabbits: Something Novel

Like many White Rabbits songs, "They Done Wrong / We Done Wrong" has a literary feel to it, like a page from a Richard Yates or Donna Tartt novel set to music. Its characters are educated-sounding people who spend much of their time saying cryptic, nasty things to one another, presumably while holding stiff cocktails. The track opens by laying that conflict out on the table — " 'Cause they done wrong / and we done wrong / And what makes you so certain all that finger-pointing's done?" — but it's never clear who did what to whom, and what the ramifications of those actions are. But the palpable tension makes the listener want to stick around to see how things play out.

Produced by Spoon's Britt Daniel, It's Frightening is more musically assured and less sonically dense than White Rabbits' debut, Fort Nightly. And it's definitely more frightening. "They Done Wrong / We Done Wrong" echoes the paranoia and dysfunction of OK Computer-era Radiohead, with quick guitar strums over spare percussion giving way to a hallucinatory, slightly distorted piano solo halfway through the track. "I'll be coming around / Enough's enough / I just want to get down to earth," singer/narrator Steve Patterson concludes. This book, it turns out, was a real page-turner.

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Ben Westhoff