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Album review: Frightened Rabbit, Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit

  • by COLIN SOMERVILLE
 

WITH immaculate timing the Selkirk band’s major label debut finds them glorying in their intoxicating independent sensibilities.

Frightened Rabbit

Pedestrian Verse

Atlantic

*****

Late March Death March is charged with a glam folk intensity that’s hard to resist, while Holy is incendiary, fired by the kind of bassline Peter Hook conceived to lift New Order out of the ordinary.

The imagery remains defiantly obtuse, dark, desperate and disruptive, Oil Slick ending proceedings on an ironically buoyant note. However, the prevailing mood throughout is cautionary pessimism, with Dead Now and State Hospital barrelling down the corridors of a crumbling NHS. “There’s something wrong with me,” cautions Scott Hutchison, like a sombre and sober pre-op.

Nitrous Gas is curiously uplifting for such a toxic subject, but such contrast is the Scots quintet’s stock in trade. The tone is established out of the ragged electric guitar lines of opener Acts Of Man, propelled by a collapsing drum beat. No new ground is broken, but this album bridges the gap between interesting indie and compelling mainstream rock without the stale stench of selling out.

The band contort their songs into improbable commercial delights, transforming the unlikely into the irresistible on Woodpile, and loading Traditions with Presbyterian self-loathing, couthy practicality and no little discomfort. Frightened Rabbit will be in the spotlight, not caught in the headlights, with this assured piece of work.

Download this: Holy, Nitrous Gas

 

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