Label Music's Tim Moss introduces the Scottish indie folk band Frightened Rabbit as Label Music give us a Label Online version of their published Label Loves feature…
‘I’m dead now, check my chest and you’ll see. That the life has been mined from me’ thus spoke Scott Hutchinson’s grim mantra in Dead Now. But rather this album signals a coming of age for Frightened Rabbit, who are actually a lot happier than that misappropriated lyric makes out.
Apparently, the story of the band’s name stems from Scott’s childhood, where his mother coined him her ‘frightened rabbit’ due to his chronic shyness. Evidence seems hard to find by the humble realism of his lyrics. Introducing himself as the ‘dickhead in the kitchen’ in the opening track, the brash frontman seems to employ his coyness only to give some emphatic conviction to his lyrics.
The relationships between the band seem tighter too, notably that of drummer Grant Hutchinson and Guitarist Andy Monaghan, check out Oil Slick to hear the two flip to the foreground and background of the track with ease. Despite this, the band as a whole have the same full band sound mixed with the same everyman lyrics. Listen to December’s Traditions, which treats a break up song almost like a traditional limerick. In spite of this, the band do tend to fall into a stadium feeling, which makes you wonder what you prefer from Frightened Rabbit; The stripped back folk rock that made them what they are today, or the new ‘full’ sound which, at times, borders worryingly on stadium rock.
I met lead singer, Scott Hutchinson by chance in September last year after his gig in Manchester through a fortuitous turn of events, which found my friend bonding with him over their collective Selkirk heritage. Apart from calling me out for my limp handshake, he seemed like a vivacious gent, brimming with the kind of spirit a frontman at home touring regime would have. The band have since played thirty-five dates over eight countries (including supporting Biffy Clyro) since I met him. It is fair to say the band are built for the road, which is why an album built with such a mind for the studio seems odd to come from them. Housing, the two part song documenting the pros and cons of their life as a travelling band, seems slightly ironic in this context.
The qualities of band seem heightened in their fourth album in comparison to The Winter Of Mixed Drinks. While the previous album had a more ‘live,’ feel, the production of Pedestrian Verse seems crisper and more cohesive. Possibly this is down to a change in recording technique; all instruments were recorded separately in this album and the result is each component seems in equilibrium.