Sort of an indie-rock side-project supergroup, 7 Year Rabbit Cycle is comprised of a couple ex-members of Deerhoof (Rob Fisk and Kelley Goodefisk), Ches Smith (who has performed with John Zorn, Nels Cline, and Fred Frith among others), George Chen (K.I.T.), and Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu. Considering the wide range of the artists involved, it should come as no surprise that the output of the group itself veers wildly, from free-jazz inspired noisefests to fragile instrumentals to raw and rough indie rock.
After a delicate introduction track comprised of only orchestra bells, "Puppies" sets the bar with what is one of the best tracks on the entire disc. The track opens with simple, repetitive chiming guitar notes and bass over cascading percussion while Goodefisk adds her breathy vocals. The track breaks down about one third of the way through to almost nothing, then builds back up again into an absolutely blistering, hypnotic section before again falling away.
From there, the album is all over the place, as "Pirates" sounds vaguely like the blistering, angular racket of The Ex while "1234" is easily the biggest drag on the entire disc as the group seems to lose focus for about ten minutes on a piece that has some good moments but leaves them swimming in a sea of filler. Fortunately, they pick things up quickly, and "This Makes Me A Barn Burner" is the musical equivalent of the title as Goodefisk raises her voice to a scream and the instrumentation alternately retreats and advances behind her.
Those looking for Xiu Xiu-esque moments will probably find themselves a bit disappointed, as Stewart only adds his melancholy vocals to a single track, and only then for a short amount of time. Floating somewhere between early 90s Louisville, Kentucky area artists (like Rodan and Shipping News) and late 90s Glasgow, Scotland output (by Ganger and Mogwai), 7 Year Rabbit Cycle is a see-sawing mass of free-rock that refuses to stay within the lines. As with all Free Porcupine Society releases, it comes packaged in a lovely screen-printed cardboard sleeve.