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Xander Singh’s timid vocals, like almost all the sounds on Pepper Rabbit’s Beauregard, are drowned in reverb. Singh and his collaborator, Luc Laurent, throw just about everything else into the mix. Clarinets, ukuleles, banjos, horns and string sections are among the wide variety of instruments found on the album.
The band’s experimental chamber pop is both orchestral and psychedelic. The opener, “Clarinet Song,” focuses on the lush arrangements. The song peaks when the vocal harmonies are buried beneath horns, woodwinds and marching drums. “None Shall Sleep” swells with emphatic rhythms and lulls with distant horns and ethereal strings. “In the Spirit of Beauregard,” features a heavy psychedelic influence without being drastically different. The clarinet and slow, bouncy piano quickly coalesce into a trippy spiral of sound.
And it actually works. Beauregard makes for an incredible listen. There’s so much going on, but Pepper Rabbit aren’t trying to be Beirut or Arcade Fire. Instead of bold and grandiose, it’s subtle and beautiful. It takes a few listens to hear it all, but that’s one of the most endearing aspects of the album. Pepper Rabbit make you want to discover every nuance within Beauregard.
Check out a live version of "None Shall Sleep," performed on KEXP: