Top critical review
Starts with a bang, ends with a whimper.
on 29 January 2015
I picked up the album after seeing White Rabbits supporting Muse and being blown away by their sheer levels of rhythmic noise - most likely attributable to their dual drummer set up. Live they were eclectic, amped up, frenetic energy that got the crowd on their feet and wanting more!
Unfortunately, recorded, they lose a lot of that frantic rawness to come across as a just-better-than-average indie/alternative ensemble for their era. A percussion heavy and highly energetic outing that definitely still has several tracks which will stick with you for a few days, but not quite the magic that they are live.
That said, the "It's Frightening" is tightly knit and remains a pleasure to listen to; indeed, I still dip into it every now and then, which can't be said of many of their peers. "Percussion Gun" is a fantastic opening which very clearly indicates the high energy and sheer volume they are capable of and melds into the slightly more melodic "Rudie Fails" very nicely. "They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong" has an almost Radiohead vibe to large parts and builds well into some almost astral piano, before the album gets oddly sinister with the mild dis-chord of "Lionesse" that starts well but ends up feeling a little messy - and not in the way it's obviously trying to be!
This, for me, is the start of a safe and easy-listening album that lacks the punch of the first few tracks. A few moments of eclecticism during "The Salesman (Tramp Life)" aside, "Company I Keep", "Midnight and I" and "Salesman" itself are largely decent outings but fail to ever spark anything that sticks or makes you want more. "Right Where I Left", once again, shows the bands penchant for darker undertones and heavy percussion (which does work very well) and injects a bit more vigour into the latter half of the album, but does just feel a little lacking with vocals that let any emotive musical builds slide away to nothing. "The Lady Vanishes" layers in some nice deep-South vibes and is arguably the strong track to bookend the album but, instead, peters out a little into the rather dreary and slow "Leave It At The Door", which drawls through to a conclusion a million miles away from the fun, upbeat blare of the album's opening.
Somewhere between Hamfatter and Django Django (but never quite reaching the heights of the latter), "It's Frightening" is at it's best when utilising the full band in frantic, heavy hitting bursts of energy and musical vibrancy. Unfortunately, there just isn't really enough scattered throughout the album to make it truly memorable. If you chance upon a live outing by the band I would recommend them but don't expect great thing from their recorded offerings.