FRIGHTENED RABBIT’S new album landed on my doorstep this morning so let’s forget the pleasantries and get right down to the big issues: Is it any good? Is it better than The Midnight Organ Fight? Have Frightened Rabbit turned into Snow Patrol?
Yes. Not quite. No.
Here are The Pop Cop’s first impressions, track-by-track…
The album begins with about 30 seconds of guitar feedback. “I didn’t need these things,” implores Scott Hutchison to some frantic kick-drumming. The vocals are multi-layered and the song has a very industrial feel, definitely nothing like they’ve done before. “This is you and me, you’re my human heat” is a neat link to The Twist’s “I need human heat” line. Loving it!
2. Swim Until You Can’t See Land
You should already know this one. It’s like a big hug. Very easy to feel blissed out with all those water metaphors.
3. The Loneliness And The Scream
More layered vocals. Initially you get the impression it’ll be an Old Old Fashioned footstomp, but it’s more like classic Primal Scream mixed with Belle & Sebastian’s Women’s Realm thanks to the constant handclaps. You think it’s going to end but at 2:40 it kicks in again with some hyper “woah-oh-oh-oh” harmonies. Holy shit, this is brilliant! This will be a live favourite for sure.
4. The Wrestle
Such a cool, simple bass riff drives it, reminiscent of Cannonball by The Breeders. We’ve got another classic pop anthem on our hands. I can’t really explain why but it has a very Scottish flavour to it.
5. Skip The Youth
Takes a while to get going. The vocals are very clean and it hares along at a cracking tempo. There’s a lot of instrumentation going on and there’s an epic ending to round it all off. Yes!
6. Nothing Like You
The next single. The melody is so catchy and just unrelenting. It’s soooooo fast.
7. Man/Bag Of Sand
The album’s Bright Pink Bookmark. Scott sings “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” very roughly and there’s some harmonica and accordion. The track is bookended by a clip from what sounds like a very old film, no idea which one. I’ll probably end up skipping this one in future, to be honest.
8. Foot Shooter
It’s an epic, slow-burning anthem and, dare I say it, a bit Snow Patrol. This sounds like the money shot.
9. Not Miserable
Scott’s exorcising some demons here. Very poignant lyrics: “Most of the misery’s gone. Gone, gone to the bone”. The drums and strings don’t kick in till the last minute, but most of the song is piano and harmony-driven.
10. Living In Colour
This one has had a fair few live outings and the recorded version certainly doesn’t disappoint. You can’t resist those thumping drums. This could definitely be a set-closer.
11. Yes, I Would
A very Biffy Clyro-esque ballad. “The loss of a lonely man never makes much of a sound” stands out lyric-wise. Scott’s really trying for a falsetto. Go on, son!