Posts Tagged ‘frightened rabbit’

Review: Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit

Pedestrian Verse cover “There is light but there’s a tunnel to crawl through” In an interview with Lily and me for In Session in August last year, Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison explained that ‘Pedestrian Verse’, the band’s fourth studio album, was going to be a necessary step out of his comfort zone. This was not because the band were partnering with Atlantic Records, their first major label, having called time on an illustrious relationship with Fat Cat Records which spawned three records, including the sublime ode to

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embittered lovers ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. No, Pedestrian Verse marks the evolution of Frightened Rabbit, the band, as Scott relinquishes his monopoly over songwriting to produce a more collaborative record. “With the last one,” he told In Session (the interview in full can be found here), “I started to get bored of my own habits in writing.” Scott referred, by “the last one” to the warmly received 2010 release ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’. “In opening the writing up – not the lyrics, the music – to the rest of the band, it’s a lot more interesting and you can hear everyone else’s input. It’s a lot less my project and more of a band now really.” Pedestrian Verse certainly sounds like a Frightened Rabbit album only… different. The great appeal of Scott’s songwriting remains omnipresent and, like Midnight Organ Fight and The Winter of Mixed Drinks, the band continues to marry, to quote Scott, “uncomplicated music with reasonably complicated themes” and “weird, twisted lyrics to what is essentially a pop song”. Fundamentally, the band’s affinity with musical juxtaposition remains in songs like Backyard Skulls, an anthemic ditty about macabre suburban secrets sung over an exuberant backing track. However, Pedestrian Verse truly reflects the band maturing in their sound, moving towards a richer, symphonic arrangement which one assumes has been brought forth through a combination of the new collaborative songwriting process and major label influence. Frightened Rabbit’s musical arrangements now experiment with pacing, tone and a touch of reverb. Pedestrian Verse sheds the folk influences from their sound and eases towards gloomy anthemic rock songs. That is not to say that they are on their way to standing alongside The Twilight Sad in that respect, far from it. At a stretch, you can hear echoes of Interpol lurking in the chorus of the devastatingly bleak ‘December Traditions’ as Scott refrains: “It’s not the answer, I’m just begging to be told/ What do you need, what do you need from me?” December Traditions best demonstrates the pacing at play, as the backing drums and guitars hold the line throughout Scott’s lonely lament, before staggering out in defiance: “Love’s labour stains a linen sheet/ The ghostly body who makes his bed beside you/ Is slowly losing teeth”, Scott sings. The changes are numerous yet subtle, but they reveal themselves quite clearly when held up to the light of the band’s previous offerings. Production values have noticeably increased, naturally. Stand-out songs The Woodpile and State Hospital sound slicker, grander, with an almost cinematic quality behind them that drives lyrics through your chest as the songs unfold with orchestral flourishes. I can’t help but think songs like those and the extraordinarily blunt album closer Oil Slick (blunt even by Scott’s standards) would have lost their impact if they had come during The Winter of Mixed Drinks, where the poppy backing got out of hand. The pacing is very deliberate on Pedestrian Verse and the instrumentals are now over their identity crisis; the band saves the raucous energy, using it only when necessary, in favour of a more reserved slow build that champions the band as whole. Pedestrian Verse is an album of songs that beg to be sung on the grandest stage. It signals a triumphant return to the dizzy heights they set themselves with The Midnight Organ Fight. Good to have you back, boys. originally posted on

In Session’s Series Two Mixtape

In Session 500x333

Around this time last year, we released a charity compilation under the title of In Session’s Series One Mixtape. We had had a stormer of a rookie year in 2011, achieving far more than we thought possible for people with little to no contacts in a Scottish music scene that was showing signs of the revival it seems to experience every five or so years. Having gained so much from that experience, I thought it would be a nice thing to release a free mixtape for the benefit of the fans that had encouraged us and the fantastic musicians that had so generously offered their time to the show. At the time of release, there was some uncertainty as to whether we could continue to produce a show that may have fluked a decent first series. The thought of there being a series two mixtape was somewhat fanciful and, if so, who we would have on it would take some effort to match the first one. But here we are. I have written this little preamble to the main event as we, Lily and I at In Session, are in very much a similar position as to where we were last year. We have, again, surprised ourselves with what we have achieved in the last twelve months; and I must stress that ‘achieved’ is used liberally as essentially we just pestered our favourite bands enough and not too much until they agreed to have a chinwag and play some songs for us. What is different this year is that we are comfortable with the uncertainty that paves the future of the show. An in-joke Lily and I shared at the end of series one was that the ultimate aim of the show, a show that showcases Scottish music, would be to welcome Frightened Rabbit in session. Well we did that; so we had to reassess. There are no targets anymore, only people whose music we love

and whose brains we want to pick between songs like Sylar in his pomp. Scottish music is as rich and exciting as it has been for some time and I consider myself fortunate to be entrenched in that environment as a small platform for some terrific people to people showcase their talents. So, to everyone who has supported us by performing, listening, or saving the show when my technical guesswork doesn’t quite work for some reason, thank you. Now that the sop out of the way, we are immensely proud to present to you In Session’s Series Two Mixtape! Like the first mixtape, this is a completely free compilation for you to savour but there is the added option there for you to contribute some money that will all go towards the charity Shelter which would be greatly appreciated. Whatever you choose to pay, you will find the same 24 songs on the mixtape, a selection whittled down from a possible 40 with the self-imposed rule of there being no more than two songs per artist. Every artist that performed a song either in the studio or on location is featured in the compilation and I do believe that what we have ended up with is a bit of a belter. Tracklisting:

1. Michael Cassidy – 15 Years 03:29 2. Blue Sky Archives – Bitches 03:41 3. Dead Sea Souls – Charlie Brown (Coldplay cover) 02:40 4. Seafieldroad – Circle The Wagons 03:14 5. Blue Sky Archives – Dear Middle-Aged Ponytail 04:06 6. Quickbeam – Empty Space 02:46 7. Meursault – Fib 02:58 8. Seafieldroad – Findhorn 03:08 9. Zed Penguin – Heathens 02:29 10. Trapped Mice – I Don’t Want To Get Over You (The Magnetic Fields cover) 01:41 11. Loch Awe – I Will Drift Into 10,000 Streams 05:20 12. Kaiho – If Jesus Was My Swimming Instructor 02:50 13. Loch Awe – Little Tricks 04:12 14. Dead Sea Souls – New Vibe 03:08 15. Trapped Mice – Night of Broken Glass 04:37 16. Meursault – Pretty Good Day (Loudon Wainwright III cover) 03:50 17. People, Places, Maps – Sarah’s Song 03:11 18. Frightened Rabbit – State Hospital 03:54 19. Kaiho – The Knife (Grizzly Bear cover) 02:51 20. Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper 03:38 21. Sebastian Dangerfield – The Sycamore Tree 04:09 22. Zed Penguin – This Town 04:04 23. Michael Cassidy – Tonight You Belong To Me 01:10 24. Sebastian Dangerfield – untitled 03:46

You can download In Session’s Series Two Mixtape right now from   I was a bit flabbergasted whilst putting this together to see that we have recorded nearly five hours of session songs…. five hours! I’m not sure what we will do with the spare tracks yet but they are all available from the podcasts on our Mixcloud. Meanwhile, we’re already putting together the Series Three Mixtape following sessions with Simon Herron, Adam Stafford, Hiva Oa, and End of Neil. We’re going to keep pestering the people we love and we’re going to keep doing this for as long as we can. It’s bloody fun! Please follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for more regular updates as we’d be the first to admit that we are not the most reliable bloggers.   In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.