San Fermin’s ‘Jackrabbit’ is powerful, alluring and utterly wonderful

When we interviewed San Fermin’s songwriter and composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone, we found out that their next album was going to be darker and more intense than their first one. This made sitting down to listen to Jackrabbit for the first time all the more exciting.

Even though I was warned about the intensity of the record, I didn’t anticipate this much of a difference from their first album – the only way to describe the atmosphere of this album is Into The Woods meets Alice In Wonderland. Both are very dark stories, yet the element of fantasy makes it oddly charming. Much like these stories, the album takes you on a journey to a strange world of wonder.

I absolutely loved it.

The Woods is a beautiful introduction to the story of Jackrabbit. The thing I love about this song is it starts off light, with a simple piano and lead singer Allan Tate’s smooth vocals – but it doesn’t stay that way. As the rest of the instruments roll in, they add layers and layers of music to the rich descriptions in the lyrics. Suddenly, after a slight pause, everything changes. The melody becomes more sinister and frightening.

The sinister sound sticks around for the majority of the album as a motif. The short, instrumental tracks in particular portray a sense of danger. The inclusion of these eruptions of music in small bites are interesting because they allow the listener to become the character in the story. Without the words, all they have to concentrate on is the music as it seeps its way into their veins. They help to connect each chapter of the story, as each track leads on from one another.

I was, however, expecting Electric Thoughts to be a full song and was disappointed when it was only 52 seconds long. The tortured, twisted instrumental was so powerful and gripping, building up so much anticipation for something that never came. Woman In Red made up for it though, with its interesting story and beautiful violin line at the end. This was a standout track for me and a must-hear.

Tate shares the role of lead singer with Charlene Kaye, whose vocals are haunting and beautiful, perfectly complementing the Tate’s deep, smooth tones. The songs are shared equally between them and they come together for duets on Parasites and Two Scenes. Both are outstanding in showcasing their great talents, on top of Ludwig-Leone’s strong storytelling abilities.

There is no doubt that Ludwig-Leone is a very talented composer. His ability to orchestrate eight different instruments without any of them getting lost in the music is astounding. I feel like an album like this required visuals to make sense of the music, like the video for Jackrabbit, which uses beautiful landscapes to portray the message. I can only hope that some of the darker tracks will receive the same lush, gripping video treatment.

For now, we can simply indulge in their experience of this album by listening and creating our own images in our minds. If you feel the need for adventure, take your place on the path into these dark and twisted woods.

Jackrabbit is out now via Create/Control.