Sound Advice: San Fermin with Lemon Sky, The Ridges, Sweet & The Sweet Sweets and Orchards

Friday • Fountain Square

San Fermin’s second album, the recently released Jackrabbit, picks up where its debut left off, delivering lush soundscapes and boy/girl vocal tradeoffs. The Brooklyn-based band’s founder and creative driving force, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, has a thing for conceptual grandeur, and with Jackrabbit he again examines lives, whether human or animal, immersed in high-stakes situations.

The jaunty, ebb-and-flow title track finds its central character encouraged to, as delivered by new singer Charlene Kaye, “run for the hills and don’t look back.” The very next song, the lilting “Astronaut,” features vocalist Allen Tate as a stark counterpoint to Kaye’s clean midrange, his deep baritone altering the mood immediately. And so it goes for much of the record, with the two trading songs — though they lend backing accompaniment to each other on several tracks and share duties on a couple more.

Ludwig-Ellis makes good use of his eight-person touring unit throughout, as surging horns comingle with mood-altering strings, versatile drumming and the occasional guitar line or atmospheric synth flourish.

“The songs sound like they’re all part of the same world a little bit more,” Ellis-Ludwig said when asked about the new record in an interview with CityBeat last winter. “But the songs themselves are actually more manic. There are drastic changes in the middle of songs and things get really fucked up for a second and then come back and be very normal. I was looking for a sound that was a little darker and maybe a little more manic, and I think we definitely found that.”

Sure enough, closing track “Parasites” is all over the map, rollicking with fiddle-aided aggression one minute, then getting pensive via lonesome saxophone and spare rhythmic clicking the next.

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