Frightened Rabbit
Painting of a Panic Attack


4.5
superb

Review

by newsteamchannel4 USER (6 Reviews)
April 10th, 2016 | 236 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Get together now. Find hope.

If you haven’t experienced a panic attack before, consider yourself a lucky individual. It’s a harrowing event that ties your stomach in a knot and makes each breath feel like a forceful shoveling of hot coal. Your lungs overwork themselves. Your diaphragm feels like a lunatic unhinged, panting and unrelenting in its pursuit of nothing concrete. And while your eyes make beelines to and fro at hardly anything in particular, it’s hard not to succumb and collapse against the nearest wall. It’s an assault on the senses and minutes turn into the longest of years-- it all often feels insurmountable. For a vicious circle lay in the chaos of a panic attack. You can never prepare for it, and you never truly know it’s coming until it’s already happening. Then, when you realize that you’re panicking and your anxiety is giving your head the ol' pillowcase-full-of-soap treatment, you panic more. Why"-- well, because you’re having a panic attack, of course; and there’s hardly a thing you can do to stop it. And if I may shift into the perhaps less "professional" first-person point of view, I’ll say this: truthfully, the only comfort I ever found was that someone else was going through the same thing I was. Not because they too were in pain, but simply because they understood.

So, when I saw the title of Frightened Rabbit’s fifth album, Painting of a Panic Attack, I found a certain warmth in it. It’s clear that the Scottish quartet intended this album to be their most personal and baring yet, and in many ways, it is.

If you’ve ever heard any of the band’s previous material, then you’ll quickly notice that Painting of a Panic Attack is slightly different. The idiosyncratic mixture of Scottish folk and modern indie rock is still there; however, now there is a nearly ever-present element of electronic swellings buried beneath the usual guitar-driven melodies. It makes each song more dynamic, whilst expanding the band’s sound in ways that were often unreachable before. And with Aaron Dessner’s sure-handed production (of The National fame), the end-result of Painting of a Panic Attack is dark and dreary, yet lifted out of its projected perpetual gloom by the energetic instrumentation that Frightened Rabbit is known for. This album is no quiet, slow-burn into the trenches of anxiety-- and it’s all the better for it.

Now, on Frightened Rabbit’s 2006 album, The Midnight Organ Fight, the topic of suicide and depression is somewhat shrouded throughout the album. You know through the lyrics and delivery of vocalist Scott Hutchison that he isn’t stable, but he doesn’t make it truly apparent until the penultimate song, “Floating in the Forth”, in which the song is literally about him longing to jump off the Forth Bridge. On Painting of a Panic Attack, the subject of depression is in the foreground, unflinching and centerstage. No longer do you just suspect that Hutchison is suffering beneath all his crooked-grin wit. You just know. For, throughout the album, his pain is put on constant display, making the surrounding instrumentation all the more desperate and eager; shown on album-highlights “An Otherwise Disappointing Life” and album-closer “Die Like a Rich Boy”, both of which are morose at surface-level, yet hold tiny slivers of light within.

On opener “Death Dream”, the meaning of the album’s name becomes immediately clear, and it’s rather unexpected. Hutchison sings of his own worst nightmare: finding a loved one dead after she takes her own life. The song is slow-moving and the imagery is brutal yet gorgeous ("butterflied arms, tell me this one has flown away"), whilst Hutchison provides a timid falsetto over piano and the constant drone of distortion, describing the horrific scene in full detail and etching out this painting of a panic attack. The song’s lyrics are what truly makes it a cut above other Frightened Rabbit songs; for in such few words, it quite possibly says the most the band ever has. “Death Dream” shows the band at its most emotional and fractured state, whilst courageous in their exposure of such a disquieting fear. And God, it is beautiful, with each song following suit, making the hardest of situations into stunning celebrators of the human condition.

But really, the meaning of it all lay in whatever the listener attributes it to. For, perhaps the album is titled Painting of a Panic Attack not because of the single dream-like incident of the opening song; but instead because of twelve collective moments, carried forth by a band that’s no novice to poignant and powerful songwriting. It’s a throng of tracks to help the listener understand the helplessness of a panic attack, whilst providing a shoulder to lean on for those who already know just how helpless it all feels-- if only to make it a little easier to get through the long day.



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user ratings (193)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
ABjordanMM
April 10th 2016


1712 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review. Great album. Pos

JS19
April 10th 2016


7073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome review man

Digging: Neurosis - Official Bootleg - Live in Stockholm

AdolfChrist
April 10th 2016


20641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. Great album. Pos [2]



review deserves a feature. this album was pretty much everything i was hoping it would be. probably going to be AOTY for me.

Digging: Horsehunter - Horsehunter

Sinternet
April 10th 2016


19090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

damn it you beat me to it i've got a review to finish



better than mine anyway though

Digging: Marina - LOVE

AngryJohnny
April 10th 2016


901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Band doesn't do bad albums, this is a good review and while I liked this the first couple of times I can only see it growing on me more and more

AdolfChrist
April 10th 2016


20641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The review reads more like a 4.5 or a 5, theres zero criticism.

newsteamchannel4
April 10th 2016


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys, I always appreciate the support.



And yeah man, you're right. I just bumped it up.

bakkermaarten007
April 10th 2016


5285 Comments


God, I remember the years.Horrifically, not able to go to class out of fear. Sweating profoundly until all my clothes are soaked. Praying each night that the next day will be bearable. Drinking to have some tiny bit of self-confidence. Panic disorders are hell. It all seems like a distant nightmare now, I don't know how I got there anymore.

newsteamchannel4
April 10th 2016


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know what you mean. My senior year of high school was hell day in and day out. To be honest, it just settled eventually and went away. I have no idea how I became so anxious and I have no idea why I'm okay now, but I don't question it either. I'm just glad it's gone.

Sinternet
April 10th 2016


19090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

one of those things that can just start happening for seemingly no reason. first you're fine, next thing you know you feel the whole world closing in on you. Then you wake up one morning and it's just gone. I sincerely hope I never have to go through that again, was a horrible experience.

bakkermaarten007
April 10th 2016


5285 Comments


" I have no idea how I became so anxious and I have no idea why I'm okay now, but I don't question it either. I'm just glad it's gone."
[2]

Piripichotes
April 10th 2016


486 Comments


try having one while driving! feet are heavy as an anvil....

Digging: Aephanemer - Prokopton

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 10th 2016


30185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Masterful review man. Only heard parts of this but I plan on giving it a full go tomorrow. The first 4 songs sounded good.

Digging: Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing

newsteamchannel4
April 10th 2016


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks SowingSeason! Means a lot coming from you, dude.

MrGarland
April 10th 2016


215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I enjoyed reading this. "Death Dream" is sooo good..

anatelier
April 10th 2016


2610 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, although I disagree with a few of your points. So excited to see them on Thursday in a church. Gonna be life affirming.

Digging: Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel

wayfaringstranger
April 10th 2016


221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Amazing album, amazing review.

johnnyblaze
April 10th 2016


3197 Comments


this is sounding great. aaron did a good job on the production.

Spec
April 10th 2016


35668 Comments


panic attacks are the worst agreed

haven't jammed frightened rabbit in a long time i guess i dont have any more excuses

anatelier
April 10th 2016


2610 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So dangerously close to a 5.



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