14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Frightened Rabbit - An emotionally-charged spacious soundtrack,
This review is from: Pedestrian Verse (Audio CD)
"You find out that life is just a game of inches" said Al Pacino in a memorable speech in the film "Any Given Sunday". Scott Hutchinson the vocal and song writing driving force of Scotland's finest Frightened Rabbit would recognise the sentiment. The Frabbit's career has been a stately slow burn particularly in the UK. Their debut the "Midnight Organ Fight" remains one of the most precious break up albums ever, but its predecessor 2010's "The Winter of Mixed Drinks" didn't really stamp its full authority, languished in the play offs and the band still await promotion to the premier division.
"Pedestrian Verse" is their fourth album and as the "fingers crossed review" in the Independent smartly puts it "here's hoping they can also Elbow their way into the mainstream" (Boom boom!). The chances of this are very good as "Pedestrian Verse" is an album which shows that Hutchinson's ability to combine soaring passion with often bleak musical lyricism and mix it into powerhouse songs has increased exponentially. Just listen to the brilliant lead single "The Woodpile" a mix of massive swirling guitars and a chorus so huge it obscures the sun, as Hutchinson pleads "Will you come back to my corner?/Spent too long alone tonight/Would you come and Brighten my corner/A Lit torch to the woodpile eye". Do yourself a favour also check out the "supermarket incident" video that goes with this. The album's opener "Acts of man" again is a big anthem but underpinned by almost Roger Waters like cynicism. Thus the observation that "I see the stumbling pinstriped trouser/Flecks of sick on and off his shoe/Part out the fatty British average/Who lives in the houses around you" is actually one of the kinder lines. These are songs for Broken Britain not least "State Hospital". 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. 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.
"Pedestrian Verse" is a muscular album full of songs that grab you in an instance and in a vice like grip refuse to let go. Clearly spreading the responsibility of the songwriting duites across the band has assisted this proving that a dose of democracy yields benefits. The surging "Late March, Death March" is a real standout, while the short and punchy separated songs of "Housing (In)' and "Housing (out)" work well. In "December Traditions" shows that the bands sojourn recording the album in the wonders of the Welsh countryside has somehow tightened them and achieved a level of focus which has sometimes been absent. It sweeps along with a great lyric and ends with the full gamut of the bands voices. For those Frabbits fans that like the bands more distinctively Scottish side the deluxe edition is a must with three extra songs. The gentle acoustics of the stunning "If you were me" harks back to the Midnight Organ Fight and is a song of shattering heartbreak; "Snow still melting" is a pounding rock song with a great melody and finally "Escape Route" ends the album with a bang; an intoxicating mix of acoustics and high drama. On the evidence of "Pedestrian Verse" Frightened Rabbit deserve to be garlanded with praise for this feisty and always emotionally-charged set of songs. It shows a band reaching their peak and like the Scottish Munro's they touch altitudes that many of their counterparts will never summit.