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(SXSW 2013 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1133: Frightened Rabbit

 
By on Saturday, 23rd February 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

February should be dubbed ‘Frightened Rabbit Month’, should it not? The band released ‘Pedestrian Verse’ at the start of the month; read Carrie’s review of the album here. Last week we showed you the video for ‘Today’s Verse’, the b-side to ‘The Woodpile’. Having graduated from indie label Fat Cat to major Atlantic, there’s no doubt the band must be gearing up for what will no doubt be their star turn at this year’s SXSW. One of their appearances will include a visit to the Belmont on Thursday night, 14 March. But right now, we’ve got the brand new video for ‘Backyard Skulls’. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx7dF89a3z4[/youtube]

 

(SXSW 2013 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1128: Frightened Rabbit

 
By on Saturday, 16th February 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Frightened Rabbit have released their deity-themed promo vid for ‘Today’s Cross’, the b-side to ‘The Woodpile’, the first song from their current album ‘Pedestrian Verse’ revealed last December. Read Carrie’s review of the album here.

The Scots were a late addition to the SXSW 2013 line-up; their featured official showcase appearance is directly before the Joy Formidable on Thursday night, 14 March, at the Belmont.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM-EXPihO9w[/youtube]

 

(SXSW 2013 flavoured!) Album Review: Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

 
By on Thursday, 31st January 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Frightened Rabbit Pedestrian Verse coverFrightened Rabbit’s new release ‘Pedestrian Verse’ comes in the midst of a productive time for the Scottish alt-rockers. Since the release of their last full-length album ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’ in March 2010, Frightened Rabbit have signed with Atlantic Records, toured extensively (making a name for themselves in America in the process) and released new material in the form of two EPs. The second of those, ‘State Hospital’, was a precursor to ‘Pedestrian Verse’ and contained tracks that the band had road-tested and recorded for possible inclusion on the full album.

Of the five songs on that EP, only one, the eponymous ‘State Hospital’, made it onto ‘Pedestrian Verse’. In a somewhat surprising twist of perspective, songwriter Scott Hutchison gives a dramatic third-person telling of a sad and well-worn story: “Born into a grave / and in the limp through years of bored schooling / she’s accustomed to hearing that she could never run far / a slipped disc in the spine of community / a bloody curse word in a pedestrian verse.”

The lyrics on this album are less acutely personal than those on Frightened Rabbit’s previous albums, particularly on ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. Though Hutchison himself billed 2010’s ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’ as a less personal album, the songs on that album still contained moments of stabbing heartache. ‘Pedestrian Verse’ feels like a more resigned, chronic sort of misery. While Hutchison has maintained his unyieldingly graphic writing style, he now turns his brutal scrutiny outward. The visual imagery in the verses is as sharp and often grotesque as ever. If the choruses are predictable, they are also, as always, cathartically anthemic.

‘Pedestrian Verse’ is the first Frightened Rabbit album on which the entire band actively participated in writing the music. While the lyrics bear Hutchison’s trademark, the effect of collaboration on the music is evident. The album has somewhat less variety than its predecessors, but synth keyboards and electronic effects (such as those in ‘Backyard Skulls’) are more prominent. The backing vocal parts more ambiently harmonic than contrapuntal, which creates a bit of a hazy effect, like the stuffy feeling of a head cold. Countermelodies have been shifted to the instrumental parts, particularly guitar solos such as those featured in ‘The Woodpile’ and ‘December Traditions’. Drummer Grant Hutchison earns his keep, as always, banging out heavy rhythms and providing forward motion to music that might otherwise stagnate in the wretchedness of the lyrics.

‘Acts of Man’ opens the album with a tender piano intro and Scott Hutchison’s best pure falsetto, contrasting sharply with the deliberately vulgar lyrics. The lilting verse “I am that dickhead in the kitchen / giving wine to your best girl’s glass” builds slowly into the chorus “not here, not here, heroic acts of man”. Almost every song on the album follows this basic pattern of light introductions and lyrically dense verses rhythmically driven into heavily climactic and repetitive choruses.

Sonically, the most captivating moments on the album are found in the sparse musical introductions. ‘Late March, Death March’ features piano and percussion, accompanied by whistling in the background. ‘December Traditions’ begins with a recitative-style voice line backed by an eerily thin guitar. ‘Dead Now’ includes an interesting bass line, which is uncharacteristically melodic throughout instead of the usual ostinato drone. I was glad to note that Frightened Rabbit continues to experiment with symphonic form in their use of reprise, represented here by ‘Housing (In)’ and ‘Housing (Out)’. Another bit that caught me by surprise because of its lateness in the track sequence was a slight melodic modulation in the guitar line in ‘Nitrous Gas’. Hutchison may have been onto something with the lyrics “suck in the bright red major key / spit out the blue minor misery”, but that late-blooming idea doesn’t come to fruition until the album’s end.

The album’s final track ‘Oil Slick’ is Hutchison’s obligatory, self-aware song about songwriting. The most upbeat song on the album, it features springy guitars and a bouncing vocal line that almost made me want to dance. Hutchison laments his internal writing process in the lyric: “I came home with four worn-out limbs and not a single love song.” Later in the track, he essentially summarizes the album, “how predictable / this is all you’ve got.” But then he finishes on a more positive note: “still got hope / so I think we’ll be fine / in these disastrous times.” The song fades out to the sound of sweetly tweeting birds.

‘Pedestrian Verse’ is gray and moody overall, and while many of the lyrics are eloquent and evocative, the music is mostly formulaic. The sporadic but brilliant moments of variety left me wondering what the result would be if Scott Hutchison and company attempted to write about something pretty, or even (dare I suggest it?) happy. Perhaps Frightened Rabbit will be inspired by the extended change of scenery on their upcoming tour.

7.5/10

‘Pedestrian Verse’, the fourth studio album from Frightened Rabbit, will be out on Monday (4 February) on Atlantic Records. If you have the luck to be at SXSW, be sure to catch them at this year’s event; they were a late addition to the SXSW list the second week of January.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Addendum to pop and pop hybrid UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Monday, 14th January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

The folks at SXSW decided to make my life more complicated in adding more bands last Thursday (10/01/2013) to their officially showcasing list. Since I’d already published my pop and pop hybrid UK act list last Tuesday, I decided it wouldn’t be fair to leave anyone out, so here is an addendum…

Camera Obscura – I couldn’t be happier that Traceyanne Campbell and company are heading back to these shores, after only seeing them once – in 2009 – in support of ‘My Maudlin Career’, which still rates highly on my favourite albums of all time. Sterling songwriting that tickles the heartstrings? Yes, please.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfDg7Vz8Ow4[/youtube]

Frightened Rabbit – Scottish indie rock band that started out as a cult favourite in Britain but are now pretty much household names in America, selling out increasingly larger venues on every successive North American tour. The group from Selkirk is showing everyone how it’s done – with great songs and loads of hard work.

Catch all of our previous coverage on Frightened Rabbit here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY4j8Ow-CTs[/youtube]

Lovelife – whatever to became to Viva Brother? Singer Leonard Newell and former Mirrors member Ally Young have reconvened to this poppier duo.

Scanners – eclectic alt-pop band from London already beloved by America and the UK for all the times their songs that have already been used in television spots.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeybxDszn0Q[/youtube]

The TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 rolls on tomorrow with the rock, metal and punk acts of the UK!

 

In the Post #96: Frightened Rabbit tease with ‘The Woodpile’ video

 
By on Thursday, 13th December 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Scottish art-rockers Frightened Rabbit are back with single ‘The Woodpile’, coming across all bombast and desolation. The song’s theme is that of outsiders sticking together, finally making that unique loner connection over a pile of burning logs. Damnably radio-friendly, certainly fitting the established Rabbit mould (that floor tom gets a lot of use), it couldn’t be more distinctively Scottish if it had a bagpipe intro. The spiritual successor to Runrig.

There’s also an intriguing and technically excellent single-take video, set in a place not unlike New York, whose scene-of-crime mystery builds to a fine crescendo, only to be let down by the final denouement’s unlikely outcome. [spoiler alert] A bit of life advice – before calling 999, make sure to check the casualty’s pulse first.

A sign of good things to come from forthcoming album ‘Pedestrian Verse’, out next year, along with an accompanying tour. Don’t forget your matches.

‘The Woodpile’ will feature on Frightened Rabbit’s new album ‘Pedestrian Verse’, out in February on Atlantic (their popularity has allowed them to outgrow their Fat Cat breeches). Watch the video below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY4j8Ow-CTs[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Frightened Rabbit record a tour diary video backed by new song ‘Dead Now’

 
By on Thursday, 22nd November 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Frightened Rabbit will be releasing their next album ‘Pedestrian Verse’ on the 4th of February 2013 through Atlantic Records. Ahead of that release, they wanted everyone to hear this new song ‘Dead Now’, which they’ve use to set the stage for a tour diary video they’ve filmed. Singer Scott Hutchison describes the video:

We recently finished a joyous European and American tour, and while we were away we thought it only right to document as much as possible with our good friends Handheld Cine Club. The gents have cut a video for the album teaser Dead Now, featuring some of the amazing footage they shot whilst they were on the road with us. Hope you enjoy it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg8BTGBRBl0[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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