Review Summary: Modern leper.
What I like about writing is that I can lay my thoughts out in a line and put them into an order that makes sense and doesn't make me seem irrational. Those million feelings that race through my body every minute can be frozen and inspected and explained in turn. That's the idea anyway. It's interesting to see how new media essentially abandons that idea in favor of reactionary bursts of emotion that won't be remembered in an hour's time and aren't worth remembering anyway. Or worse, the expressing of emotion is relegated to the posting and re-posting of pictures that are scrolled through so fast that not even a fraction of the thousand words they supposedly tell is heard. It is sensory overload that is supposed to be “real,” complicated feelings diluted to pages and pages of sentence-long posts and pictures.
Frightened Rabbit show that there are merits to both. The majority of “My Backwards Walk” is so nurtured, almost to perfection. Such care must have been put into those lyrics. But then comes the line, “You're the shi
t and I'm knee-deep in it.” It is both clever and stupid as hell. It's not a compliment and yet it's not quite an insult either. It almost certainly just occurred
to Scott Hutchison one day. I hated it initially. Eventually I was won over, partly because it's so wonderfully crass but mostly because of the subtle shifts in the vocal melody that make the line seem like something much deeper than it actually is. It shows that Hutchison was aware of how trite some of his lyrics may sound and painstakingly tried to keep them from being presented that way. That subtlety is something Frightened Rabbit have mastered; it runs through the whole record. “Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms” is full of millisecond-long pauses in between words and lines that are held just a little bit longer than expected. The songs sound off in some way but never enough to keep them from being perfect. When Hutchison sings, “I think I'll save suicide for another year” at the climax of “Floating In The Forth,” the music sounds like a Christmas carol. Like the rest of the album, it's predictable but not in a way that you'd expect. It's tweaked and skewed, it tips the scale away from generic and toward unique.
This album has not fostered in me a deeper appreciation for short Tumblr posts and Facebook statuses that say incredibly blunt things in incredibly vague ways. I didn't learn anything from Frightened Rabbit and I don't think I was meant to. Hutchison's lyrics speak to me and I drink in every word but I don't cling to them. But I know that sometimes I can write a few thousand words and still say and mean less than anything written in thirty seconds and posted to a blog. I've only got one leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing things like that. And I'm mostly full of shi
t, trying to say so much and coming up with so little and hoping that it's enough to merit existence. I guess this album makes me feel a little bit better about that.