A very tight, high quality and purposeful EP by Scotland's greatest export since Johnnie Walker Black Label. The Frabbits last LP "The Winter of mixed drinks" didn't quite match the outstanding "The Midnight Organ Fight" but then again it is difficult to think of many albums by British rock bands in the last ten years that do. This new EP does tend to owe more debt to the latter as its style is slightly more introspective and less overtly radio friendly. The lead track "State Hospital" is classic FR. It starts slowly with a simple set of chords, big drums pounding in the background and Scott Hutchison's uniquely brilliant Selkirk infused voice full of equal parts heart and muscular ache. It is song of poverty, domestic abuse and set around the birth of a probably unwanted baby. Yet the band takes these themes and turn them into a giant anthem of a song that ranks with their uplighting best. As Hutchinson passionately sings the chorus "Her heart beats like a breeze block thrown down the stairs/Her blood is thicker than concrete forced to be brave she was, born into a grave" you smile broadly knowing that they are back to their very best. Check out the brilliant accompanying video. The song "Boxing night" sees Hutchison confessing to nearly "drinking himself to death" and reflecting "on the ghosts of bottles past". It clearly was difficult song for him to write, at a difficult point in his life following yet another heartbreak which leads to the reflection that "Good Glasgow could burn to it's bones tonight and I'd barely blink an eye". Perhaps you think this is all too depressing but the mastery of storytelling that Hutchinson commands always shines through. Thus on the great "Home from war" and the quietly reflective "Off" you witness his songwriting skills reaching a level of admirable maturity. The last track here "Wedding Gloves" is kicked off with a spoken introduction by Aiden Moffat formally of Arab Strap and a hugely respected staple of the Scottish music scene. It is eerie and haunting and a fitting conclusion to a great EP.
More good news comes in the fact that Frightened Rabbit are currently hard at work completing their Atlantic debut album. this will be released in early 2013 and has been recorded "up the road" at the famed Monnow Valley Studio in Rockfield, South Wales. This should produce a nice Welsh/Scottish mix and roll on its release in the new year. In the meantime "State Hospital" is a excellent overture before the main opera.
Fantastic! Delivered on time, great band, great sound, It's nice to hear some new stuff coming from them. If you like FR, you should try Twilight Sad; Camera Obscura and Biffy Clyro as well as Chvrches