State Radio – Rabbit Inn Rebellion
by Cara McGrath (Graphic Design), published October 31st 2012
Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!
With their fourth studio LP release, State Radio captures their on-stage energy and, for the first time, completely translates it onto an album. Coming from someone who is extremely familiar with both their live and recorded sound, Rabbit Inn Rebellion is undeniably a groundbreaking album for the trio of Chad Stokes, Chuck Fay and Mike Najarian. Although each release since State Radio’s inception has been a step toward developing their sound, this one is clearly a leap.
While much of their previous work has sometimes been difficult to categorize, here State Radio has clearly stowed away their reggae and ska influences and created an album that is entirely rock, and hard rock for that matter. Rabbit Inn Rebellion is filled with distorted electric guitar, powerful vocals and crashing drums, laced with the political and moral drive State Radio is known for. While it has a few quieter moments too, the success realized with the harder ones will keep you from craving anything different.
With lyrics touching on everything from crack cocaine addiction to the Occupy Movement, to a man in love with a sheep, Rabbit Inn Rebellion offers some of the best storytelling from front man Chad Stokes’ long career, combined with a more uniform concept and sound throughout. “Freckled Mary” is bound to be the biggest fan favorite of their 2012 release, with coming-of-age spirit and an Irish-Bostonian feel reminiscent of Let It Go ’s “Knights of Bostonia” (2009). Epic suspense is built in “Big Man” when, right at its peak, the music cuts to a British child reciting a 17th century protest poem, before the guitar and drums return with a bang. The riffs heard in “Sugarbeet Wine,” “Black Welsh Mountain” and at the end of “State of Georgia” are edgier than most anything State Radio has previously produced. And Stokes’ wailing vocals, executed best on “Take Cover,” “H.A.C.K.I.N.” and the final explosive chorus of “The Bridge is Burning,” clearly exhibit the amount of emotion put into the record.
State Radio’s decision to focus on more of a hard rock-driven sound was a wise one; this release has a more consistent and energetic feel overall than any of the their previous albums, and drummer Mike “Mad Dog” Najarian visibly excels at heavier drumming. Calling attention to injustices such as the death penalty, war, and callous politicians, on this concept album, State Radio once again becomes a voice of hope and revolution. Although Chad Stokes’ other band, Dispatch, will always be a more notorious success story, Rabbit Inn Rebellion proves that State Radio should be given a greater share of the limelight.
Recommended Tracks: Freckled Mary, Sugarbeet Wine, Take Cover, Black Welsh Mountain