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Hrududu Factory | Songs from the Burrow (Shmat)
Among the more curious items to have found its way to CwaS HQ this year, this five-track EP had more potential than most, at first glance, to elicit disdain from your cynical scribe. All accompanying material and website info would have us believe that this is the work of...a rabbit. Credited to one named Tharn (who thanks Richard Adams for inspiration on the sleeve), 'Songs from the Burrow' was written and recorded in said location somewhere in Alhambra, CA.
When not making music Tharn keeps his paws busy building miniature tractors (a 'hrududu' is, according to Adam's 'Watership Down', "a motor vehicle such as a car or a tractor"). But whilst his online journal is peppered with lagomorphic dialect and references to his fellow leporidae, the music contained within this attractive package sounds surprisingly human.
You can even forgive him his tales of tractors (three of the five tracks reference this obsession), on account of memorable lyrics like "you make your promises to the maitre d' / he says you're not worthy of getting a special table with the porno stars / i think it's the way you comb your hair" (Family Car) or "late night chinese coffee shops will be missed / let's turn atlantic back into a highway lined with wheat" (Garfield and Valley which also includes the informative "eggs come in 6 sizes / jumbo, extra large, large, medium, small and peewee / most markets carry only the top 4 sizes").
And his voice is very charming too, a semi-whisper like Waterworks' Doran Stambaugh (who would doubtless recoil in horror at the comparison), adrift on rippling waters of acoustic guitar and considered percussion. On closer Midwick Hill he brings some Sparklehorse reflection into play, along with a kazoo.
Whether Hrududu Factory has the wherewithal to sustain interest across a full-length depends on how far his tractor will take him into the world beyond the local neighbourhood.
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003