That’s right. Be very very frightened. Frightened Rabbit that is, with their new album Pedestrian Verse that came out Feb. 5, that certainly makes a statement. The album is the Scottish indie band’s fourth studio album.
In regards to the album title, Pedestrian Verse, lead singer Scott Hutchinson says, “I scribbled that on the front of my notebook on the first day of writing songs for the new album. It was throwing down the gauntlet to myself. Call your album Pedestrian Verse and you just leave yourself open to people going, och, that’s a bit boring, so…I couldn’t have anything dull.”
The intent, Hutchinson states, was for Pedestrian Verse to be about other people instead of it being solely about “some sort of whiny [sad] harpist.” Despite this, events of Hutchinson’s gloomy thoughts made its way onto the album because after all, what would a Frightened Rabbit album be without the self-loathing and depressingly dark shadows of Hutchinson’s life?
This album holds true to Frightened Rabbit’s busy, textured sound which includes the stylistic combinations of flitting guitar melodies, gloomy, depressing song lyrics that are “painfully honest,” tracks that are built around accented Scottish vocals (and many glasses of whiskey), a rich set of complex, intertwining sounds, and melancholy emotion. The album combines subdued, sad tracks with upbeat, warmer ones that add up to make an altogether well-rounded performance.
While not quite reaching into the deep, dark depression of the band’s second album (the notoriously-known, most bitter single-person album of all time), The Midnight Organ Fight, the album still has its share of downright disheartening lyrics. Song track titles, “Late March, Death March,” “Dead Now,” and “Backyard Skulls” speak for themselves and pour out the lyrics, ”There’s something wrong with me / it reads nothing like poetry / will you love me in spite of these tics and inconsistencies / there is something wrong with me” in “Dead Now” and “a slipped disc in the spine of community / a bloody curse word in a pedestrian verse” in “State Hospital.”
An album favorite is definitely “The Woodpile,” a song about Hutchinson’s lonely woes (“The same way I’ve done for years / spent too long alone tonight.”) and seeking an escape from his sad state of being (“Come find me now, where I hide / would you brighten my corner?”). A slow and gradual build, created by warm guitar melodies, echoing background vocals, and polished, filling drums give rise to an emotional and poignant climax. Hutchinson states, “It may be one of the most straightforward songs we’ve written to date.”
“I think we all stepped up on this album,” says Hutchinson, “more than any other record we’ve done this has been a genuine journey of discovery into new ways of working in order to develop and fully realize each of the songs. As a result, I think Pedestrian Verse is the strongest and most interesting record we’ve made to date.”
Frightened Rabbit certainly did not disappoint and continues to create music with meaning and substance. Certainly not music that is your everyday radio tune, but something poetic, heavy, and significant. Hutchinson’s lyrics have passion and indescribable emotions that make audiences seek out their own interpretations and personal connections to Hutchinson’s heart wrenching lyrical verses.
Despite the surge of American popularity for Frightened Rabbit, the Scottish band has little recognition back in their United Kingdom roots, so much so that people at their own record company have not even heard of them. Hopefully this tour will change that. The band will launch their tour on Feb. 20 playing in the UK, Australia, Canada, and the United States. The serenading Scottish voices of the five members of Frightened Rabbit can be heard in Minneapolis on March 21 at the Varsity Theater. And a fellow Concordian blogger just may be rockin’ out like true “Frightened Pedestrian” in the audience.