Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Nuclear Rabbit - Vicuna CD (album) cover


Nuclear Rabbit



4.25 | 4 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars The metal version of the Easter bunny with rancid eggs, hehehe! This album seemed appropriate for this review on Easter Sunday, the 21st of April 2019. Not only for the obvious RABBIT connotations but also because this band was formed in Novato, CA which is the first destination i moved to in the San Francisco Bay Area and have ended up living there many times over my restless Bay Area living experience. How in the world did i not know about this band for so long when i'm definitely one who craves the most weird and demented expressions of the metal world? Well, that is no longer the case and NUCLEAR RABBIT has become more than a curiosity in my world but a band that delivers some far out funk metal weirdness taken to the n-th degree. And when i say weird, i totally mean it!

Not only does this band resonate with me on the aforementioned levels but ironically the founder and virtuoso bassist Jean Baudin has become one of the Bay Area's foremost underground bassists with his classic 11 string bass guitars and is often seen playing video game tunes at the Santa Clara based California Extreme event where classic 80s arcade video games congregate en masse for a larger than life retro experience where Pac-Man, Berzerk, Centipede, Donkey Kong and a gazillion other unknown games are ready for one to take a trip back to the 80s / 90s timeline. Whoah. While i digress, this actually applies to NUCLEAR RABBIT's debut album VICUNA as well. Funk rock / metal was all the rage in the 80s and 90s with bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, 24/7 Spyz, Extreme, Primus, Living Colour, Faith No More and of course Mr Bungle were rocking out wit da funk turned up to 11!

While the band was created in 1989 by Jean Baudin who wanted to create music that wasn't confined to any particular genre, it seems that the funk and ska thing won out. While Baudin started out as the vocalist / bassist along with Pat Garner (guitar) and Steve Sigaty (drums), the true magic started once vocalist Greg Parrish joined the cast and NUCLEAR RABBIT started to develop its own weird persona that would propel them into one of the Bay Area's most revered cult metal acts that still persists to this very day. While clearly following in the footsteps of the first Mr Bungle album's goofy take on potty mouth immaturity married with prog rock sophistication, NUCLEAR RABBIT took a harder edged cue from the thrash metal infused energetic approach of Infectious Grooves, the solo project of Suicidal Tendencies frontman and lead vocalist Mike Muir. Add a bit of over the top Zappa antics and a touch of indie pop inspired Ween weirdness and voila!!! The perfect recipe for some Dr. Demento styled metal all funked up 2 da max.

While VICUNA is technically the debut album by NUCLEAR RABBIT, it is in reality it is a compilation of tracks from the four demos: "Poo Factory (1990)," "Bowling for Midgets (1991)," "Utensil Extravaganza (1992)" and "Spork 2000 (1993)" which is the reason this album despite its 1997 release sounds very much grounded in the funk metal paradigm of the early 90s. However since the demos were never really released, this is a bona fide album that marks the debut of one of the Bay Area's most bizarre bands and that's saying a lot in these parts! While Baudin is famous for his 11-string bass guitar, on these earliest recordings he simply abuses a 5- string Ralf bass and it is his outstanding virtuosic playing that makes this one helluva roller coaster ride despite the clear influences on the band's sleeves. They really take things to the next level and VICUNA truly delivers in not only the absurdity department but really excels in some of the most off-kilter progressive takes on funk rock, metal, ska, punk, jazz as well as ethnic influences from all over these freaky planet.

Other than Baudin's brash bravado on the funkified bass with unique techniques of tapping, slapping and popping the strings, the next star of this show clearly belongs to vocalist Greg Parrish who not only mimics Mike Patton of Mr Bungle, Frank Zappa as well as the singer Mike Silverman from the long forgotten band The Fabulous Hedgehogs as well as the mastermind behind That 1 Guy, but also delivers some of the most eccentric vocal antics that actually exceed anything Mike Patton has conjured up in his lengthy career. Parrish not only takes yodeling to a new level of weirdness but also delivers some highly bizarre vocal styles that i've never heard anywhere else. The tracks are all generally silly and mock the consumer culture such as on the hilarious tracks like "Supermarket," "The San Francisco Treat" and "Parkay."

VICUNA is clearly for those who don't take music too seriously but then again it is totally for those who take music seriously! This dichotomy and attitudes in opposition is what makes this appealing. Generally speaking, the tracks are based on funky bass lines that deliver an instantly addictive groove with ridiculous subject matter and then turn to left field by taking things in a totally opposite direction often with off-kilter time signature freakouts and musical insanity with hardcore technical wizardry. The attitude is clearly rooted in punk rock with most tracks exhibiting a brevity but a few like "A Little Squirrel And His Crack Pipe" taking many twists and turns and extending to much longer lengths. This compiled debut represents the first phase of the band's career. Soon after the release Pat Garner left the band and was replaced by Jason Brandon. The band enjoyed minor success after touring with Green Day, PUYA, Grip Inc., Deftones, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Melvins, MDC and the Skankin' Pickle but lost momentum by taking several years to craft a followup. While not as OMG brilliant as Mr Bungle, this is definitely the next best thing and not to be missed by freaky avant-garde metal lovers on the funkier side of the spectrum.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this NUCLEAR RABBIT review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives