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The best Frightened Rabbit album to date?
on 2 March 2013
It's hard to put my finger on exactly why but this is quite possibly Frightened Rabbit's finest release to date. Lyrically, they've moved up a level from 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks'. In fact there's lyrical gems to be found in every song. Gems on a par with, quite possibly the best band around at the minute, The National.
'So if we can't bring an exorcist/I'll settle for one of your stiffest drinks' from 'Dead now' is typical of Scott Hutchison's dark sense of humour. It's not all bleak though and despite the fact that it doesn't retain the reborn again optimism of 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks', there's an optimistic streak running throughout 'Pedestrian Verse'.
When the Talking Head's inspired 'Dead Now' reaches it's climax, the chorus of 'There's something wrong with me' doesn't sound self-pitying but something triumphant along the lines of The National's 'Abel'
Sonically too, they're stretching themselves further and they've found a wonderful collaborator and producer in Leo Abrahams, a frequent partner of Brian Eno these days. He adds a spritely sense of urgency to some of the songs whilst lending deft sonic touches to some of the mid tempo songs recalling some of Brian Eno's best production work.
Rather inevitably, people who are fans of FR will ask if this is better than 'The Midnight Organ Fight'. I can't answer that at this point as 'TMOF' means an awful lot to a lot of people, including me. I think it just might be though.
One thing is for sure, Frightened Rabbit are in a league of their own and I'd be hard pressed to compare them to any other band out there at the minute. They're able to create anthemic songs without sacrificing integrity or sincerity - A lot like The National to be honest and certainly Scott Hutchison gives Matt Berninger a run for his money in the lyrics department. Sonically and tonally, there's not a lot of comparison. Hutchison's 'voice like a gutter in a toxic storm' certainly sets the two bands apart.
'There is light but there’s a tunnel to crawl through
There is love but its misery loves you
There’s still hope so I think we’ll be fine
In these disastrous times
Frightened Rabbit have moved up to a bigger label and thank God, they've not lost their bite. They're still biting and tearing away at life without losing that wonderful sense of realism,humility and hope that makes them totally unique. I love this band and I love this album.