Posts Tagged ‘Review’

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

What’s Going On In Comedy: Cry Baby Comedy Present Airplane


Comedy in Edinburgh outside of the festival is currently undergoing some way of transformation.

One of the freshest and most exciting of these changes comes in the form of a new night at the Cameo hosted by Cry Baby Comedy. The idea of the night is to use the wonderful venue for live comedy, with performances provided by some of the best Scottish Talent emerging today, headlined by a classic movie of mirth, with both elements fused into an interactive experience to liven up the usual and, comparatively dreary, cinema experience.

I have a rule: when you are offered a life jacked and greeted by a nun playing a guitar, you know you are in for a good night. Cry Baby Comedy did not disappoint.

Cry Baby and Leslie Nielson: The new face of comedy in Edinburgh.

Guests on the bill for the debut Airplane special were magnificent, with well known names if you have been keeping your ear to the ground, including Chortle Student Finalists Hari Sriskantha – who effortlessly and intelligently juggles with expectation and race using some well written observations and one liners – and David Elms. Elms brought the house down with his subtle intonation and Basden beating guitar-scapades, has clearly grown in confidence with the festival, and will doubtless soon be a household name, mark my words.

The ladies themselves are developing their own sassy voice as part of the Edinburgh scene. Compère Cat Wade can”t help but enjoy herself as she manages to balance a genuine, edging on excessive, enthusiasm for life with a sharp wit and natural badinage with the audience that would be the envy of most professional compères.

One of the highlights of the night came in the form of another of the Cry Baby organisers Gemma Flynn, who has become a regular favourite at another comedy venture for Academic Performance the “Bright Club” – here she is performing with them at the BBC tent during the festival, with the same Gangster”s Paradigm routine that went down so well at the last Cry Baby Show:

Alongside this remarkably astute comedy, variety was provided with some poetry and sketches. Clearly inspired by acts like Dan Le Sac, poetry was a welcome incorporation, and although this didn”t quite match the standards set by the other acts (by his own admissions, he wasn”t a stand-up and hampered slightly by technical problems) one can see this going down well with a bit more polish and stage presence.

Similarly, although not all the sketches were as well received as could be, the Edinburgh Revue provided some welcome respite with a section of solid skits. Having clearly grown as a troupe from their well received Festival outing, all of the performers working together admirably, perhaps most exciting of all were glimpses of sharper writing suggested this group had plenty of potential yet to be fulfilled. Between these, Adam Todd, doubling as both sketch and stand-up, is another act who, like Elms, is growing into his character with remarkable ability – a surreal man child who chooses whimsy over hate – and I cannot wait to see how his unique way of thinking develops as more material and ideas inevitably drip-feed into his routine.

At most gigs, this would have been more than enough for an enjoyable evening, but to top it all off, the headline act just happened to be one of the funniest movies of all time – the always hilarious Airplane. Despite being broken up by some technical problems – the film stock almost inevitably falling apart being now thirty years old – nothing could hamper the enjoyment of a clearly buoyant audience that left.

This is what live comedy should be – everyone together, involved and enjoying the night for what it is, a whole heap of fun. If this is the new face of comedy, then you”d best get used to seeing smiles all round.

Follow @CryBabyComedy on twitter to find out about

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their next outing.