Fresh off the release of her proper debut studio album, “O.K.,” bedroom pop singer-songwriter Gabrielle Smith returns with the six-track “Year of the Rabbit” EP under the Eskiameaux moniker. If last year’s full length was an indication of Smith’s ability to unearth words of wisdom from her past (and repolish demos to pop purity with proper mixing), “Year of the Rabbit” draws its strength from the raw, organic sound of the Eskimeaux live band.
“Year of the Rabbit” could be thought of much like a prologue to “O.K.” Both albums mostly deal in the emotional weight of self-discovery, but whereas “O.K.” felt like a series of climactic realizations, “Year of the Rabbit” thoughtfully wanders through Smith’s insight into relationship nuances in the retracing of her past.
“It’s not enough to sit together inside a room, to merely lay beside one another as lovers do,” Smith sings on the title track, and throughout the EP it’s as if she’s coming to terms with what exactly she wants out of a relationship. On “Power” she sings, “Wish I could love you less like a praying mantis, rip your head off every time this starts to feel right.” The EP’s softer, airy production is accentuated by the relatable apprehension of entering a new relationship.
The year Smith alludes to, 2011, was when she began dating her current partner, and in an interview with The Fader, she wonders if “[relationship problems] from the beginning are the problems forever.” But rather than running in circles, Smith’s reflections on the moments that define a relationship are as grand as ever.