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Album review: Frightened Rabbit - Painting of a Panic Attack

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 May 2016

Frightened Rabbit album cover

Frightened Rabbit album cover

Archant

Anyone unfamiliar with Frightened Rabbit’s output would be wise to heed the glowering grey skies, bleak landscape and anonymous industrial outpost of the cover art; this is no fanciful flutter through the lighter musings of heart and mind.

The fifth full-length from these indie stalwarts, who landed a major label deal in 2010, is as emotionally wrought as we’ve come to expect.

Sonically and aesthetically, they sit on a lonely, blustery outcrop situated somewhere between fellow Scots The Twilight Sad and Snow Patrol – neither as acerbic or doomy as the former, nor as flaccid as the latter.

And there’s plenty who identify with the band’s cerebral, glum but sometimes uplifting take on angst and ennui - take the dappled synth that reflects the light in the lyrics on Blood Under The Bridge’s (“I’ve found a way to make the best of a flaw”).

Aaron Dessner, of feted US alt-miserablists The National, takes on production duties for the first time, but his is a light-touch approach that doesn’t distract from frontman Scott Hutchison’s dark wit.

His pen was sharpened by a relocation to LA and its contrasts of rich and poor, and his own sense of discovery and homesickness.

Lump Street, one of several highlights, evokes a place of misery with shards of guitar, reverb and synths soundtracking a raconteur’s lyrics (“a broken jaw behind the dogtooth smile”) and building to a thundering drum-and-guitar climax.

This, along with a fistful of other morose but moving numbers, could see them grace the likes of the Brixton Academy once again.

Rating: 4/5 stars


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