Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
Record Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: February 4th 2013
Recently, a lot of indie/folk bands have been releasing new records, such as Atlas Genius, The Joy Formidable, Twenty One Pilots, Local Natives, and many more have records being released soon. Scottish indie/folk band Frightened Rabbits is a band that was rather familiar to me, because I had listened to an EP they released last year, but almost forgot it was by them. When I started listening to the band’s new record Pedestrian Verse on my iTunes, I immediately remembered listening to this band last year, and thinking they were pretty good. I’m not sure why I didn’t listen to them more, but now I am, and I really like these guys. Right from the start, I noticed that this band really doesn’t do anything unique, at least for the genre, but like a few other records I’ve listened to this year already, this record is an example of a band that does what they do very well, and that’s a reason to enjoy them quite a bit. This band does have things that stand out. For instance, vocalist Scott Hutchinson’s Scottish accent comes through plenty of the songs, so his vocals alone are very distinct, and really cool, too. That alone really makes this band stand out, and not to mention, the music itself is rather straightforward, but that’s not a bad thing at all. There are a few interesting twists and turns along the way, such as two “interlude” tracks “Housing (In)” and “Housing (Out)” that appear on the record; they’re only a minute or two a piece, but they work fantastically well. There are plenty of other tracks on this record are quite memorable, and that’s good news for me, because this is a band I’m rather new to, so for these songs to be memorable is certainly a good thing. So, with that being said, let’s take a look at this record and recite some pedestrian verses, shall we?
The record begins with “Acts of Man,” and it begins with a piano riff, and vocalist Scott Hutchinson singing quite softly. It starts it off quietly, and nicely; this is a rather modest band, and I can tell that from the get-go. It does pick up a bit more during the one-minute mark with some guitar riffs coming in, and some very interesting drum beats as well. It’s got a rather ambient sound. Immediately, I get a Mumford & Sons vibe from this band, but not completely, of course. Hutchinson sounds rather similar to Mumford & Sons vocalist Marcus Mumford. Not quite, but rather similar. I can’t help but feel like this band would be what Mumford & Sons would sound like if they were more indie-rock centered, instead of folk. This song is rather slow, but does start the album on a very quiet note. Next song, “Backyard Skulls” is the first song I ever listened to by the band. They recently released a music video for this track, which has the band playing at a fictional high school prom, and it’s a really weird, but cool video idea. The song itself is actually quite catchy, and one of the highlights of the record. It certainly is quite memorable, and one of my favorites. In fact, this song kind of starts a bit of a trend with this record, in the sense that the next three songs after this one are actually quite fantastic. Third track “Holy” has a lot of really interesting lyrics that actually have a message to them, and this one of the songs that does have some of my favorite lyrics. As a whole, the lyrics are very solid, but not the best I’ve ever heard, either. This song starts off with a really great guitar riff that just gets the song going, and it’s one of the catchiest songs on this record, too. As I said, the next couple songs are also really awesome, and memorable. This leads me to one problem I have with the record; it does kind of drag on a bit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but most of the songs do have a rather similar formula to them. Fourth track “The Woodpile” is another very well done track, and this has a GREAT chorus. Easily one of the most memorable songs on the record, and Hutchinson’s vocals are top notch here. His vocals are always wonderful, but this is a song where they certainly do shine. The backing instrumentation is great as well, actually. Next track “Late March, Death March” is a rather catchy track, but it does sound quite a lot like “The Woodpile,” which is not a bad thing, because it’s quite enjoyable, nonetheless.
Earlier I mentioned two interlude tracks, or at least, what I perceive to be interludes, the first being “Housing (In).” This is a minute and a half track that is really one of the quickest and shortest tracks, too. The only thing that bothers me about this track is that it builds up but doesn’t go anywhere at all. It’s only a minute and a half, and it doesn’t quite go anywhere, really. That’s not a bad thing, because it is a nice “break” within the first and second half of the record. Eighth track “Dead Now” doesn’t do much for me, other than a really cool guitar “solo” in the middle. Right after that, ninth track “State Hospital” is another one of my favorite tracks. It’s a very “folk” influenced track, but that’s what I like about it. It’s definitely a bit different from the rest of the record, and it works quite well. Eleventh track “Housing (Out)” is the other “interlude” track, and this one is a minute long, it’s an acoustic track that leads into last track “The Oil Slick,” which is another acoustic folksy track that ends the album quite nicely. It’s also one of the longest tracks on the record at about 5 minutes, but it does end the record nicely, nonetheless. Unlike “Housing (In),” this is a track that builds up, and actually does go somewhere. The album ends with some birds chirping, and the sound of nature, essentially, and it sounds really great. Overall, this album is a pretty straightforward indie-rock record with some folk elements, and it really does a good job. Songs like “Backyard Skulls,” “The Woodpile,” “Holy,” and “State Hospital” really are memorable, and make the record really enjoyable. In fact, this is a record that may show up on peoples’ end of the year lists, and if it’s lucky, it’ll show up on mine as well.
Also, how was Backyard Skulls the first song you've ever heard by them, if you listened to their EP last year? I think you might have meant the first song you heard off of this album...?
I'm glad someone finally reviewed this, but try to organize your thoughts a little more. I noticed a lot of repetitive statements, and sentences that are either unnecessary or could have been combined. If you do this, and break up your paragraphs, you'll be able to get your message across more efficiently. Keep at it!
Scott would cringe at your comparison with Mumford and sons, not to mention the fact that Frabbit have been around for much longer. Good review otherwise though but personally I would have scored it higher - one of their strongest efforts.