Gig review: Frightened Rabbit, Picture House, Edinburgh

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HAD Scott Hutchison not been aware his band were about to break through to a whole new level when they were signed to Atlantic Records for their forthcoming album, or when he walked onto the stage at this almost-hometown show to a packed full house, an incident earlier in the evening would surely have encouraged him.

“You signed my arm,” a rogue fan had declared to him, “and then I got a tattoo made of it.” The actions of a hero, believed Hutchison. “A bit of a t**, but a hero all the same.” In fairness, the Selkirk-formed Frightened Rabbit deserve such disturbing acts of adoration if any band do.

Ploughing a singular furrow which has seen them achieve creditable international success, particularly in North America, while still not managing to win over the UK’s popular music media, the new material debuted here was very respectably more of the same: yearning anthems with just a touch of buzzing-voiced Scots character (the noisy wistfulness of Scottish Winds and frantic, ceilidh-styled Living in Colour were the best examples of this here) and a powerful way with an emotive lyric.

In that respect, new track State Hospital’s “my heart beats like a breezeblock falling down the stairs” was certainly the equal of My Backwards Walk’s singalong-enforcing “you’re the s*** and I’m knee-deep in it.”

Beyond such stylistic subtleties, though, this is a band with a rare instinct for widescreen, dramatic indie rock which pulls at the heart, with Music Now dissolving unconsciously or otherwise into the riff from Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner and Swim Until You Can’t See Land, Keep Yourself Warm and the solo ballad Poke awaiting their deserved day which is sure to come on a far larger stage than this.

Rating; ****