I've got to admit that this little Hrududu Factory record is an interesting little concept. In theory, Songs From The Burrow is the story of an indiepop kid who goes by the name of Tharn, who wakes up one morning and discovers, much to his horror, that he's turned into a rabbit, and these songs are the stories of his new life as a rabbit.
Yes, that's right, he turned into a rabbit.
Don't laugh, please. Turning into a rabbit is serious business. I kind of feel for Tharn. While turning into a rabbit is the ultimate realization of being twee, it's obvious that Tharn's kind of sad about this change. "I can't be your best friend any more," he sings on "Tractor Guy," and I really feel sad, because when he Tharn was a real live boy, the Tractor Guy used to be his friend, or at least I think that's what he's talking about. Now, the Tractor Guy is an enemy, for he unintentionally destroys little bunny rabbit homes in the name of farming. But that's not the only moving experience, because the whole record is touching. "A Terrible Sight" is a dreamy recollection of a bad dream, and it's quite moving. "Garfield & Family" is a song about dreaming about making the world a better place.
Of course, like many concept albums, the concept is much more interesting in theory than in practice. The story line doesn't really hold up, but don't mistake a weak concept means that the music is weak as well. For being a bunny, Tharn has some excellent musical skills. In fact, I'd say that he's pushing the needle to 'utterly brilliant.' His folky, downhome music is mixed with some pretty deep atmospheres, leading me to wonder if the Tractor Guy is either Jason Lytle or Mark Linkous. Tharn's that good, and Hrududu Factory, while a bit of a novelty on the surface, is far from novel. Just take a listen to "Family Car," which is easily a long-lost outtake from Sumday.
All of the songs on Songs From the Burrow shimmer and hum and sparkle in a way that makes your inner bunny rabbit smile. I've listened to this several times, and each time I do, I'm left with a really nice smile on my face, a warm feeling in my heart, and an overwhelming desire to hear more. Hopefully Tharn can get more time to record, because I have this feeling that when he turns back into a boy (if he can, that is), he will produce an awesome full-length album, and will get all the credit he deserves. A heartbreakingly beautiful debut record worth seeking out, and it certainly whets the appetite for more...