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Album Review: Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Album Review: Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Album: Pedestrian Verse
Tracks: 12 (+3 Bonus Tracks)
Release Date: 4th February 2013 (UK and Europe)/5th February (US)
Label: Atlantic Records

It’s been a week since Frightened Rabbit’s latest album Pedestrian Verse came out, and according to my play count, I’ve had it on repeat 13 times since then and I have absolutely no regrets. It’s clear to see why the band’s fourth album gears up to be their most critically acclaimed release to date.

Before I start talking about the album itself, it’s probably that some of you may not have heard of Frightened Rabbit until now. If you are one of those people, what you need to know is that Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish ‘band of the people’, so to speak. Their lyrics fuse real life stories and retrospectives on failed relationships (which we can all relate to) with musical elements borrowed from folk, indie, rock and in some cases a dark, but softer approach to music, almost styling some songs as acoustic new wave.

If you got the standard release, then you’ll have received 12 songs, from Acts of Man, to The Oil Slick, and if you bought the deluxe edition from iTunes then you would have also received the bonus tracks; If You Were MeSnow Still Melting, and Escape Route as well as two videos, Here (The Highlands Film) and There (The US Tour Documentary). Here’s an acoustic version to whet your appetite: Backyard Skulls – Acoustic

Pedestrian Verse’s track list for the standard edition.

If you are a new listener, then it seems that you have come across the Souters (Frightened Rabbit were founded in Selkirk) in their prime. Pedestrian Verse is the accumulation of ten years worth of maturation, and it’s noticeable in their evolved sound and in the way that lead singer Scott Hutchison pens and sings his thoughts.The album has a darker sound and over the years the band have become more and more polished in their recording, it could be said that their earlier albums such as The Midnight Organ Fight, were seemingly strung together and not all songs flowed as seamlessly as they do on the latest release. The way the songs on Pedestrian Verse flow is definite improvement and adds to the listener’s enjoyment. Luckily, Frightened Rabbit have kept one vein pumping blood as strong as it was from Sing the Greys: their lyrics. Scott Hutchison, with help from his fellow Frabbits continually offer a plethora of heartfelt and sincere story-lines. There can no mistake that these are not throwaway lyrics. Admirably, it is the five piece’s consistency in exposing themselves that proves to me, and no doubt others, that they really are passionate about the music, and were never in the business for the fame.

There are many notable songs on the record, and only one or two that I couldn’t help feel indifferent to. If you’ve heard of Pedestrian Verse but haven’t got round to listening yet then the songs, I have to say that I adore each of the songs, and they all possess wonderfully catchy melodies and simple but effective music. If you’re looking for a pointer here, I’d recommend Nitrous Gas, Holy and Late March, Death March.
One thing that’s for certain is that Frightened Rabbit have always, and probably will always have slow and melancholic songs, which is arguably what defines them but with songs such as Nitrous Gas it’s refreshing to witness a band continue making music that defines them, but are able to re-brand and develop themselves so that it isn’t repetitive and a case of failing to teach old dogs new tricks. The only two songs on the album that have not yet grown on me are Housing (In) and Housing (Out). When listening to these songs, I can’t help but feel that they are filler tracks, and don’t offer as much substance as some of the other songs.

However, on the whole I feel that Pedestrian Verse is a thoroughly enjoyable album, and one of the best albums I have heard since summer 2012. I recommend an immediate listen.

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