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Kick drum and tenor ukulele aren’t traditional choices for an elegy, but “Older Brother” is hardly typical, and those instruments match surprisingly well with the keyboard swells when as vocalist Xander Singh intones, “I wish I could reach out and touch you / don’t worry I’m not sad… save some space for me and say hello to your Dad.”
Pepper Rabbit doesn’t seek to rub grief raw like the Sufjan Steven’s “Casimir Pulaski Day” or craft an anthem like Band of Horses “The Funeral.” Instead, “Older Brother” builds a simple goodbye out of memory instead of mourning. “Older Brother” deserves a spot in that select company, but be forewarned: while the song’s approach may seem gentle, listening to “Older Brother” while viewing photo slideshows of any kind will render the images unbearably poignant.
Although they tour as a trio, at its core Pepper Rabbit is a duo comprising Singh and drummer Luc Laurent. Their debut full-length, Beauregard, will be released on October 26th courtesy of Kanine Records.