Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Frightened Rabbit's Pedestrian Verse

"Sounds like a celebration and reads like a eulogy..."

I wrote this ages ago, and the record's been out for a while, but the review must have gotten misplaced somehow, because it just went up yesterday at Blurt.

So, no actual news here, but it does (I think) read pretty well.

Frightened Rabbit
Pedestrian Verse


Frightened Rabbit, out of Scotland, has always balanced the triumphant with the desperate, building large-scale, cathartic climaxes out of ragged guitar riffs, throat-sore shouts and gut-punched, rabble-rousing drums. Their sound has always been simultaneously a fist in the air and an open wound, a celebration of overcoming that is not quite certain, not quite over. Pedestrian Verse is the band’s fourth full-length, the first for Atlantic subsidiary Canvasback, but in no way a betrayal of the band’s rough-edged aesthetic. Pounding, pulsing, head-rattling “Holy” is among the band’s best rockers ever, and “State Hospital” another in a continuing series of poetic but dead-on conjurations of mental illness.

In the interval since Winter of Mixed Drinks, Frightened Rabbit has toured relentlessly – and so has played many of these songs repeatedly, on stage, before laying them down to tape. As a result there is more of a live, kinetic energy to this album, and less of the studio experiments and sound collages that dotted previous albums. The sound, too, is noticeably cleaner, with keyboards, in particular, showing up more sharply than before. Yet though these songs may be fresh out of the shower, they haven’t been blow-dried or overstyled. The shout-along choruses of “Woodpile” rumble with raw masculine intensity, the drums punch through power chords vibrating with dissonance. Everything is urgent and loaded with consequence.


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