New Music Tuesday ( March 9th, 2010)

9 Mar

Frightened Rabbit
The Winter of Mixed Drinks
FatCat Records

After reading so many top notch reviews and genuinely appreciating Frightened Rabbit’s music as a whole, I was expecting more from their latest album “The Winter of Mixed Drinks”. Their third album “Midnight Organ Flight” appears to be critically acclaimed, but these Scottish lads are far from being indie household names like their fellow countrymen and women of Camera Obscura, Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, Arab Strap and Sons & Daughters.

First of all, I can’t deal with Scott Hutchison’s voice. He is tortured; raspy, dreary and experienced, yet whiney. Add dreadfully emo lyrics into the bag and you’ve got a depressing Saturday night indoors. Despite this, the actual music composition has great potential with its rolling percussions and bass lines, comparable to Arcade Fire. Violins, pianos and some occasional brass instruments give the album a classy and timeless sound. The album is musically thought out well; its layers are complex and quite enjoyable to hear. But I can’t help but feel that the vocals really wring this album dry, especially some the harmonies which are as eloquent as a dog’s howl.

Second of all, where’s the Prozac? The songs are overall sad, gloomy and rainy but again it has its moments of sunny pop that shine through the clouds. It’s a Glaswegian story of solitude and growing up: “Swim until You Can’t See Land” is such an example, a song I can enjoy for its catchiness and rich harmonies. Traveling seems to be another theme of the album – the lyrics are very much about pushing yourself into situations knowing that you will be alone and lost. The message is clear: it’s okay to be comfortable with your loneliness. Listeners are finally woken up by the cheeriness of “Nothing like you”, an upbeat poppy song that is very Camera Obscura. A glimmer of hope within this album!

By the end of the journey, Frightened Rabbit has slightly grown on me, but it all sounds too familiar. If I am ever listening to Frightened Rabbit in my spare time, I’ll definitely be mixing a drink in homage to reclusiveness. Possibly while wearing an old plaid shirt. And hopefully, being rained on.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan

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