Album: Frightened Rabbit, Pedestrian Verse (Atlantic)
Sunday 03 February 2013
Amid all the futile, cyclical chatter about rock's death/rebirth, Frightened Rabbit have done well to stay out of the conversation. Never the "next big thing" nor the latest casualty of hype, the Scottish band have accrued a cult following for their mix of anthemic bluster and social miserabilism – their reward a major label contract for this, album four.
And what of it? Paradoxically, it's both their most commercial and subversive release yet. On the one hand, the hooks are more uplifting than ever; on the other, the lyrics plumb new depths of grimness.
Take opener "Acts of Man", a yearning ballad coloured by vomit flecks and domestic abuse. Or "State Hospital", a singalong about the social inequity of a woman "born into a grave". Or anti-hymn "Holy", a boppy tirade against the pious on which Scott Hutchison wails, wonderfully, "stop acting so holy – I know I'm full of holes".
Indeed, from the self-mockingly banal title onwards, it confirms them as that rare thing: a band able to combine grandiosity and groundedness. Similar, in fact, to another slow-burn success story with a bearishy tender frontman. Now here's hoping they can also Elbow their way into the mainstream.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits record low as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West