Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish indie rock band from Selkirk, formed in 2003. The line-up currently consists of Scott Hutchison (vocals, guitar), Grant Hutchison (drums), Billy Kennedy (guitar, bass), Andy Monaghan (guitar, keyboards), and Simon Liddell (guitar). Since 2004 the band has been based in Glasgow.
Initially a solo project for vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit’s first studio album, Sing the Greys, was recorded as a duo by Hutchison and his brother Grant, and released on independent label, Hits the Fan, in 2006. The band subsequently signed to Fat Cat Records, in 2007, and became a three-piece with the addition of guitarist Billy Kennedy for its second studio album, The Midnight Organ Fight (2008). The album was released to strongly positive reviews and extensive touring, with guitarist and keyboardist Andy Monaghan joining the band to flesh-out its live performances.
The band’s third studio album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, was released in 2010, with former Make Model guitarist Gordon Skene joining the band for its accompanying tour. Frightened Rabbit signed to Atlantic Records later that year, and issued two EPs, A Frightened Rabbit EP (2011) and State Hospital (2012), before the release of its fourth studio album, Pedestrian Verse in 2013. A critical and commercial success in the UK, the album peaked at number nine on the UK Albums Chart, with additional guitarist Simon Liddell joining the band on its subsequent tour.
Disillusioned from touring, Hutchison, Monaghan, and Liddell recorded a studio album without the band, entitled Owl John (2014). Gordon Skene departed from the band in early 2014, and the band recorded its fifth studio album the following year with producer Aaron Dessner (The National), in New York, with Liddell joining the band as a full contributing member.
Things—-With a beautifully textured intro spiced with slight reverb, the track has a wonderfully dark edge to it. The vocal enters….peppered with the desolate brogue that lends to the song a loneliness and incredible sadness. This is full of textured emotions…..and quickly became a favorite release of mine that i could always turn to when feeling a bit introspective. The lyrics are telling…..deep with double edge words combined with the musical haunt coming together to create a beautiful desolate landscape.
Swim Until You Can’t See Land—-Without a doubt my favorite track from this band to date. There is a certain empowering feel to the message of the lyrics and the music…..combined with a sadness that takes you to places best often not visited. This is remarkable…both in beauty and feeling. the jaunty type of guitar breaks the vocal from being to intense….but the feeling is all over the song. This is a masterpiece.
The Loneliness & The Scream—-With a slight shift of mood, the feel of the song is perfect in sequence with the previous two tracks. The vocal lends a sadness and urgency…while the music grows and grows in intensity and urgency as it evolves. This reminds me somewhat of Snow Patrol…..the huge sing a long chorus, the feel of the music that is indicative of Scotland…..the damn infectious quality of it all…..another masterpiece of a song.
The Wrestle—-Although very similar in sound, this track has a much more present vocal that is layered and textured with a sadness and intensity that is hard to explain. This is beautifully constructed….reminding me at times of Kings Of Leon……the music ebbs and flows…lending to a poignant sound that can make you sink to the floor if the mood is right. A truly masterpiece of a record, I have never found anything ever again quite like this release.
Skip The Youth—-Staying, for the most part, true to the feel of the record thus far this song finds me in a bit of a different place. The melancholy is replaced by an almost noisy introduction that grows and grows until you feel your forehead might explode. The shuffling guitar sound….combined with the ever present cymbal crashes lends to a noisy feel……and then suddenly everything drops away and allows the vocal to enter with the sad tinge to the feel. This is brilliant….taking you on a journey of sounds and feelings in about 3 minutes. Just fantastic…….I feel….I am alive!!!!
Nothing Like You—-It is really beyond my comprehension why this band is not HUGE!!!! Again sounding a lot like Kings Of Leon, the shuffling guitar sound combined with the almost pleading vocal is remarkable. When the chorus hits you….you feel a smile break out in every fiber of your body….not out of joy…but the sheer beauty of a band in their top form. This is such a great listen!!!
Man/Bag Of Sand—-A redux of Swim……this brings you right back to the mood that captured you when this journey began……brilliant and well constructed. I love this band!!!
Foot Shooter—-With an intro of lonely guitars and and a masterful guitar, the voice enters with a pained feel to it that makes you wants to lie of the floor and sob. There is a joy to the song though…the energy pervades despite the lowly feeling of the song. This is a nice mixture…much like the typical human emotion on any given day. This is real…..
Not Miserable—-Almost abrasive instrumentation ushers in a vocal that does indeed sound miserable….the loneliness in the brogue is so fascinating to me. I feel an almost indescribable pain with these songs…but it so good to feel it. This release…..6 years old now….still plays like it is brand new to my ears and my psyche. I have zero fault with anything on this release. This is beautiful emotion on public display.
Living In Colour—-At the onset, this is more jaunty and anthem laden. The entire band lends to the vocal…making this a huge sing a long track that makes you want to jump up and down and scream with joy from the energy of the whole damn thing. This is a nice change of pace…but the feel is not so different that you forget all of the beauty you have been afforded on this release thus far.
Yes, I Would—-Ending this release with bombastic drums and the onset, the sad guitar strumming is right thee in the front of your brain. The voice enters and you are left with the same aching beauty that began the entire record. This is about as pure perfect as you can get!
***** out of 5