If you didn’t get your indie fix from the Grammy Awards, then fear not. The Scottish band known as Frightened Rabbit released their fourth album, titled “Pedestrian Verse,” on Feb. 1. It is a follow up to their much celebrated album “The Winter of Mixed Drinks.” If you haven’t heard of Frightened Rabbit before, think of an Indie Scottish version of a modern Counting Crows.
Although I thoroughly enjoy this band’s music, my first impression of “Pedestrian Verse” was a tad disappointing. Though it does have some decent songs, nothing seems to rival past greats like “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” “Keep Yourself Warm,” “Skip the Youth,” and “Backwards Walk,” except perhaps one song on the new album. The overarching bright spot on the album is a song called “The Woodpile”—this song bleeds the aural awesomeness I expected from Frightened Rabbit. It opens with a classic Rabbit guitar riff and marching drums to bring it some booming depth. Singer and songwriter Scott Hutchison breaks through the captivating noise with his go-get-’em folk rock voice and brilliantly precise lyrical dominance. The song builds and builds until it peaks into a rolling coaster of roaring choruses that is built upon a pillar of ambient guitars and overdubbing voices.
The EP and possible single of the album is a softer song called “State Hospital.” This isn’t a bad song either; I thought it was decent. It’s just a little softer and more sensitive than music from the Rabbits’ past albums. It’s the type of music one might expect from a band that’s approaching their ten year mark of existence. They’re not kids anymore, and the album shows that with the bands easing off the energy peddle a bit and delving into a more developed sound.
Hutchison commented about the album by saying, “More than any other record we’ve done, this has been a genuine journey of discovery into new ways of working in order to develop and fully realize each of the songs. As a result, I think “Pedestrian Verse” is the strongest and most interesting record we’ve made to date.”
Other songs that caught my ear are “Holy,” “Acts Of Man,” “Late March, Death March,” and “Nitrous Gas.” Taking those songs into consideration, I feel like this album was really close to being a special one, and only just fell short. For example, “Nitrous Gas” is so close to be a really good song; however, the repetitive chanting chorus of “Oh…Oh” is, in my opinion, somewhat disappointing. There are also two songs on the album titled, “Housing,” and each song lasts for about a minute. They are basically the same song, but are oddly separated on the album by several songs. If the band had just combined the two into one song, it would have been a great song as a whole! They still sound cool, but a minute feels way too quick to feel like a hit song. I will give the band credit for being unique and artistic in this matter, but I don’t think the briefness of the songs were worth their originality.
I don’t know if fans will be super impressed from the first listen of “Pedestrian Verse,” but I feel like this album is a good listen if it’s cooked and savored slowly. Give it time, and your ears just might thank you later. The songs might not be the greatest Frightened Rabbit has to offer, but they still have that great sound and Hutchison’s voice to fall back on. In my opinion, Hutchison’s one-two punch of voice and lyrics rival the very best.
Photo courtesy of Frightened Rabbit
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