Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
Canvasback Records/Atlantic Records
Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Recommended if you like: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Local Natives, Neutral Milk Hotel
Ten years ago, Frightened Rabbit made their entrance into the music world. Lead singer Scott Hutchison tells a story from his childhood that growing up in Scotland, he was an incredibly shy boy. His mother, perhaps in an attempt to tease him out of his shy state, referred to him as her “frightened rabbit.” Listening to the lyrics in the band’s previous two releases, you would have a hard time imagine the loud and brash singer being anything close to shy.
With the release of Midnight Organ Fight, Frightened Rabbit began to make quite a name for themselves in the indie scene, entering numerous “Top Albums of 2009” lists. Most impressively, this standout album came out just over a year after their debut release, Sing The Greys. Now on their fourth full length, and first since 2010, Frightened Rabbit comes back with a slightly new and improved sound with the same bellowing vocals and heartbroken lyrics.
The rolling piano chords and falsetto vocals of Hutchison welcome us to the album singing “I’m that dickhead in the kitchen giving wine to your best girl’s glass. I am the amateur pornographer, unpleasant publisher about hand. Not here, not here, heroic acts of man.” With lyrics as brash as these, it’s hard to imagine the shy man from which the band receives its namesake.
“Backyard Skulls” opens with a reverb-filled organ splashed with colors of quickly arpeggiating synth chords, a style previously unheard in songs. It’s certainly a welcome addition when mixed in with their signature drum-heavy, down-strumming guitar songs.
Another standout tune on the record is “Late March, Death March.” With the drums leading the march of the song, Hutchison wails about the loss of a loved one, which consequently has strengthened his disbelief in God. The combination of “Ooohs” behind the belting of the final drumbeat and the gang vocals of “March, death march” to build up the ending of the song leave you with chills.
The lead single for the album, and title of the EP prior to this release, is “State Hospital.” The slowly picked electric guitar line with atmospheric noise laid thickly behind it usher in the song while the saddening tale of the protagonist is laid out throughout the song. The song takes a strong turn of redemption at the finale, ending with a simple but powerful tagline: “All is not lost, all is not lost.”
Fans of Frightened Rabbit’s previous releases will find joy in the new album, finding new things to love while still keeping the things they’ve already fallen that made them already fall in love. For new fans, this album has a similar accessibility level that Midnight Organ Fight offered the new larger fanbase.