Of God and Science’s second album abounds with wandering pop
Since the beginning of time, or somewhere around then, the rabbit has been symbolically heterogeneous. Luck, innocence, fertility and trickery are all traits that surround the animal in folklore. This contrast is why Albuquerque’s Of God And Science chose the rabbit (indeed, the more mysterious black rabbit) as a mascot for a new album of mercurial compositions.
Ten years ago, songwriter and vocalist Matt Dominguez and bassist Jeremy Fine met in college and formed Of God And Science. Their group went through various members, but they didn’t find a George Harrison to their Lennon/McCartney until multi-instrumentalist Julian Martinez came along four years later. The band’s self-titled debut was released in 2007 and spent six weeks on CMJ’s top 150.
Of God And Science took the last two years to write and record a follow-up album. The work happened at Dominguez’ North Valley home, inside a souped-up recording space christened “Ends-In-Z Studio.” Without a drummer (the trio still hasn’t found a Ringo), the many-talented Dominguez and Martinez played the rhythm parts. Missing a key performer wasn’t a handicap to the album. The drumming is clean and understated—in fact, all of the instrumentation is.
Despite the complexity that can come with many parts—in addition to the standard guitar-bass-drums situation, Black Rabbit contains banjo, pedal steel, piano, keyboard and ukulele—the instruments do not cancel each other out. There’s no showboating here. Each piece of sound is executed with refinement, contributing to a greater whole. The immaculate orchestrations are built up in layers of multi-textured melody and vocal harmonies. Over the course of eight tracks, the styles range from shoegaze to country, indie rock to pop, but all the songs are tugged along by a shadowy undercurrent of mellow gloom.
The album was released on Jan. 18, on Of God And Science’s own Detach Records (psst ... look for more releases from the label soonish). In celebratory observance of Black Rabbit, Of God And Science, which rarely appears in public, takes the stage on Saturday for the first time in a year. A Very Special Lie’s Demarcus Sumter will fill the drummer’s seat, while Michael Gonzales is lending a hand on multiple instruments. No word yet on whether the floppy-eared plush costumes that appear on Black Rabbit will be about.