Red Velvet Snow Ball is a haunting and charming sophomore effort by Xander Singh and Luc Laurent, the guys who make up L.A.-based Pepper Rabbit. The band first presented its sound as poppy, upbeat and rock-edged on its debut album, Beauregard, but on Red Velvet Snow Ball, the group drops the rock and dips into experimental sounds, making this a calmer and dreamy endeavor.


“Lake House” opens the album with an ambient melody coupled with a militaristic drum beat. It’s a slower track with many intertwined elements that get more tangled as the song sinks into a murky and static intonation. You enter a more straightforward world of psychedelic pop on “Rose Mary Stretch,” in which you might detect hints of Rogue Wave or Fleet Foxes, while “The Annexation Of Puerto Rico” combines joyful layers of experimental instruments with a peaceful melody.


The album’s first single, “Murder Room,” has a hooking chorus paired with resilient piano and synth melodies. It is a decent display of what the band is capable of, but it doesn’t quite reflect the instrumental achievements shown on the rest of the album. Over the course of Red Velvet Snow Ball, the two-man band augments and varies its sound by incorporating 11 instruments. It took a lot of experimenting, jamming and digression from its old songwriting techniques for Pepper Rabbit to produce such an enjoyable album.