The Bunny Gang: Thrive

Say what you will about being a copycat, the Bunny Gang does a startling Clash impersonation.

The Bunny Gang


Label: Hardline Entertainment
US Release Date: 2014-09-23
UK Release Date: 2014-10-06

Do you miss Joe Strummer? Me, too. Happily, though, the spirit of Strummer lives on through the Bunny Gang, which features Nathen Maxwell of Flogging Molly. Their sophomore disc, Thrive, contains enough punk rock rage and reggae dubbiness to make listeners do a double take. If anything, Thrive carries on the legacy of Sandinista!, just without the triple-LP bloat. There’s even a song here titled “Illegal Market”, which, of course, may make you think of Black Market Clash. So, yeah, the Bunny Gang equals the Clash. Still, for all of its copying, Thrive is pretty strong. There are a great number of songs that are uplifting, if not a call to arms. “Beach Coma” is actually even kind of Sublime (as in the band, but, sure, read into that if you must any way that you would like to). The band moves into reggae-ish territory with “Waves” and the seven-and-a-half minute “Canoe Dub”.

However, as good as the reggae and dub excursions are, they also feel just like that ... excursions. Coming on the heels of “Waves” is the triumphant “We Are the Ones”, and this causes a smidge of unevenness in the material. Elsewhere, “The Reckoning” and “Sirens Through the City” have that classic early Clash feel. And Maxwell even sounds a bit like Strummer, if you strain your ears just enough. Thus, it’s easy to write off the Bunny Gang as also-rans, just interested in music that you’ve heard elsewhere some 35 years before. For all that, though, this outfit does do a pretty good job at writing both anthemic songs and trippy songs. Even if this makes this album the poor man’s Sandinista!, the best thing you could say is that Thrive is a more manageable 11 tracks, as opposed to, you know, 36. And, arguably, Thrive is just as political as Sandinista!, with songs such as “Uprise Underground”. Say what you will about being a copycat, the Bunny Gang does a startling Clash impersonation. Some may scoff and say that they already own this record as Sandinista!, but the rest will just shrug their shoulders and celebrate that the voice of Joe Strummer lives on, albeit in altered form. If you know what you’re in for, you’ll probably have a grand ol’ time.





Learning to Take a Picture: An Interview With Inara George

Inara George is unafraid to explore life's more difficult and tender moments. Discussion of her latest music, The Youth of Angst, leads to stories of working with Van Dyke Parks and getting David Lee Roth's musical approval.


Country Westerns Bask in an Unparalleled Sound and Energy on Their Debut

Country Westerns are intent on rejecting assumptions about a band from Nashville while basking in an unparalleled sound and energy.


Rediscovering Japanese Director Tomu Uchida

A world-class filmmaker of diverse styles, we take a look at Tomu Uchida's very different Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji and The Mad Fox.


The Charlatans' 'Between 10th and 11th' Gets a Deluxe Edition

Not even a "deluxe" version of Between 10th and 11th from the Charlatans can quite set the record straight about the maligned-but-brilliant 1992 sophomore album.


'High Cotton' Is Culturally Astute and Progressive

Kristie Robin Johnson's collection of essays in High Cotton dismantle linear thinking with shrewdness and empathy.


Lianne La Havas Is Reborn After a Long Layoff

British soul artist Lianne La Havas rediscovers herself on her self-titled new album. It's a mesmerizing mix of spirituality and sensuality.


PC Nackt Deconstructs the Classics with 'Plunderphonia'

PC Nackt kicks off a unique series of recordings dedicated to creating new music by "plundering" unexpected historical sources such as classical piano pieces or chamber orchestra music.


Counterbalance 24: The Doors - 'The Doors'

Before you slip into unconsciousness, Counterbalance has put together a few thoughts on the Doors' 1967 debut album. It's number 24 on the Big List.

Reading Pandemics

Parable Pandemics: Octavia E. Butler and Racialized Labor

Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, informed by a deep understanding of the intersectionality of dying ecologies, disease, and structural racism, exposes the ways capitalism's insatiable hunger for profit eclipses humanitarian responses to pandemics.


'Tiger King' and the Post-Truth Culture War

Tiger King -- released during and dominating the streaming-in-lockdown era -- exemplifies in real-time the feedback loop between entertainment and ideology.


GOD's 'God IV - Revelation' Is a Towering Feat of Theologically-Tinged Prog Metal (album stream)

GOD's God IV - Revelation is beautiful and brutal in equal measure. It's a masterful series of compositions. Hear it in full today before tomorrow's release.


Ivy Mix's 'Spirits of Latin America' Evokes the Ancestors

A common thread unites Ivy Mix's engaging Spirits of Latin America; "the chaotic intermixture between indigenous and European traditions" is still an inextricable facet of life for everyone who inhabits the "New World".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.