Frightened Rabbit
Pedestrian Verse


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ali CONTRIBUTOR (131 Reviews)
January 28th, 2013 | 238 replies


Release Date: 02/04/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We're all idiots, apparently...

Scott Hutchinson has earned his stripes as a candid, emotionally connected songwriter, and one need only read a handful of interviews to realise he scarcely differs away from the mic. Quizzed by my local freebie NARC concerning his band's relocation to major label Atlantic, the Frightened Rabbit mainman uttered a typically frank response, admitting "when you sign for a major label you do it for a reason; you want to further your career. We're not going to deny that." Commendable though they were, those words were only eclipsed for fans by claims their imminent fourth album would evoke the bleak lyrical intensity of The Midnight Organ Fight, not to mention that it'd also mark their first foray into group-orientated songwriting - a significant development for an outfit which essentially began as its frontman's pet project.

In fact, one of the first things which becomes obvious upon listening to Pedestrian Verse is just what an effect this particular adjustment has had. Decidedly eclectic, it's a record which both polishes and updates their existing pallet, brushing up that core indie-folk sound with subtle amendments, most notably the inclusion of electronics and (*gasp!*) guitar solos. Along with a wonderfully crisp production job, it accounts for by far their most musically realised effort to date, albeit one which can occasionally give the impression of upbeatness; not something many would expect - or for that matter want - from Frightened Rabbit.

Luckily, any suspicion is all but offset by another lyrical masterclass - an aspect Hutchinson retains sole control over, and one which remains the centrepiece to his band's appeal. In the aforementioned conversation with NARC, the singer insisted he'd sought to write a "darker, even more intense and personal album than The Midnight Organ Fight," having become dissatisfied with the comparatively light nature of intervening LP The Winter Of Mixed Drinks. It might sound like a regression, but in reality it's anything but, especially seen as the perennial themes of depression and mortality are this time approached from a completely different perspective. Indeed whereas Organ Fight hit hard through wallowing in it's author's misery, Pedestrian Verse seemingly carries a tone of acceptance, whereby Hutchinson apparently comes to term with his demons and learns to embrace the joyless bastard he is (his words!).

It goes without saying this change in outlook hardly equates to a happy-clappy parade, but what it does culminate in is a collection of words which, even by his standards, are quite staggering. Perhaps the most striking example is token latter-day sucker punch "Nitrous Gas," whose use of bare naked expression and warped humour truly depict Hutchinson as a being bereft of all social charm. Belatedly warning "I'm dying to drag you down with me," his stance is aptly set with the confession "I'm dying to be unhappy again," until the final leveller "If happiness won't live with me / I think I can live with that / you can keep all your oxygen / hand me the nitrous gas" proves just about as cheerful a conclusion as one could hope for. This sense of perverse celebration is also present on "Dead Now," which amongst others drops the bombshell "I'm dead now, can you hear the relief? / as life's belligerent symphonies, finally cease," as well as "Holy," whose defiant refrain "I don't mind being lonely / because it feels like home / I'll never be holy / thank God I'm full of holes" essentially summarises the album's entire mantra. "The Oil Slick" on the other hand adds an entertaining twist to the leader's well-versed self-deprecation, asking "how could I talk of light and warmth? / I've got a voice like a gutter in a toxic storm / all the dark words pissing from my throat / sound like an oil slick coating the wings we've grown," and that's after claiming "only an idiot would swim through the *** I write" - a harsh assessment, but one unlikely to be heeded by the waiting masses.

Without doubt the record's defining feature, this balance of sarcasm and misery mongering ultimately proves responsible for some of his band's finest moments yet, and could prove invaluable come the scrutiny which tends to come with major label status. As well as inevitably being many listeners' introduction, Pedestrian Verse is also an LP which moves Frightened Rabbit to a new creative plateau, presenting material which, with a little patience, should delight existing enthusiasts as well as fulfill any commercial aspirations. It can be a delicate matter in musical circles, but fans can rest assured Hutchinson and company are furthering their careers in the most elegant manner possible.



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user ratings (177)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
teddycutler1 (4)
Combines the bitterly personal and the fist-pumpingly anthemic in one beautifully maudlin Glaswegian...


Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2013


7404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also posted at: http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

Stream: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2013/jan/28/frightened-rabbit-pedestrian-verse-stream?CMP=twt_gu

If you're a fan and this doesn't click straight away, fear not. It took about five listens until I got the hang of it, and now December's Traditions is all that's stopping me from giving it a 4.5.

As ever, feedback much appreciated!

robin
Emeritus
January 28th 2013


4259 Comments


WHAT

robin
Emeritus
January 28th 2013


4259 Comments


good work son

"Commendable though they wore,"

typo?



AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2013


7404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, yes, thanks. Fixed.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2013


7404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, Organ Fight is one of my absolute all time favourites, so I'm probably not the right person to ask. Like I said, this album's more about celebrating misery than wallowing in it, and it's a lot less intense as a result. It can take a bit of getting used to, but I'd certainly rank it above The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, which I also loved.

TheNexus100
January 28th 2013


2578 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the woodpile is one of the worst songs they've ever written. i'm really not looking forward to hearing this

Digging: Full Of Hell & Merzbow - Full Of Hell & Merzbow

TheNexus100
January 28th 2013


2578 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the woodpile is one of the worst songs they've ever written. i'm really not looking forward to hearing this

BigTuna
January 28th 2013


5161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really like this so far

robin
Emeritus
January 28th 2013


4259 Comments


unsure about this

InfamousGrouse
January 28th 2013


3570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

giving the stream a listen now

benkim
January 28th 2013


2167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my most anticipated records of the year. I am sure it won't touch MOF but it should at least be at par with their previous LP.

InfamousGrouse
January 28th 2013


3570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"the disparity between their success in the US and their relative obscurity in the UK." - The Guardian

wat

benkim
January 28th 2013


2167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's got more to do with my hopes than what it "should" be...

NorwichScene
January 28th 2013


1498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Are you a man or a bag of sand?

Great review

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Able Bodies

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2013


22034 Comments


"the disparity between their success in the US and their relative obscurity in the UK." - The Guardian

wat

Why even bother with newspaper reviews? I'm not even sure if they've actually read the album beforehand for a lot of them

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

InfamousGrouse
January 28th 2013


3570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found it when quickly skimming the text below the streaming box. I, for one, thought they were massive here and relatively unknown in the US. Like Biffy, like Twin Atlantic are gradually becoming as well.



CasinoColumbus
January 28th 2013


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Midnight Organ Flight rules, but I couldn't really get into Winter of Mixed Drinks, so I'm a bit sceptic about this one.

Phideaux
January 28th 2013


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. Excited for this album. So far so good on the stream.

Wolfhorde
January 28th 2013


13688 Comments


Did not see this coming.

Tyrael
January 28th 2013


20946 Comments


Good band

will check this soon-ish

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste



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