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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If I were Prime Minister: I'd give tax cuts to the rich, keep Trident, and get my football team wrong
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show