Out of Selkirk, Scotland, Frightened Rabbit originally started as a solo project for front man Scott Hutchison. They released their first album Sing the Greys, independently, in 2006.
- Sing the Greys – 2006
- The Midnight Organ Fight – 2008
- The Winter of Mixed Drinks – 2010
- Pedestrian Verse – 2013
- Painting of a Panic Attack – 2016
The Midnight Organ Fight
Frightened Rabbit then signed on with Fat Cat records and released the superb The Midnight Organ Fight in 2008 , an album that wades through the unsteady waters of breaking up with a person you love. This is an album for anyone who’s ever experienced a soul-crushing heartbreak, and who felt as though they might never be okay. Scott Hutchison knows what it’s like to hate yourself to the point of self-destruction, but he also possesses the self-awareness to defiantly face the darkness.
This album features so many great songs that I think it’s worth singling out. The lyrics are so honest and powerful that they cannot be ignored. It may not necessarily be easy to listen to because of this, but it rewards repeated listens and despite its overall glum outlook, leaves you feeling fulfilled and maybe a little less alone. The album received critical acclaim upon its release and with good reason.
Instrumentally, the songs are complex and layered with wonderful melodies that offset the darker moments of the album so that while it may get lyrically heavy, it never becomes overbearing.
If you’re in the mood for some melancholy, this is the record for you.
A Human Approach
An overarching theme that runs through their five-album discography is an unfiltered appeal to one’s humanity and all that entails. Touching on themes ranging from heartbreak, religion, loneliness, and drunken debauchery, they craft songs that cut to the core of what it means to be human.
Hutchison’s use of anatomical imagery and his apparent obsession with mortality and religion in his lyrics make them particularly effective because of their universal themes. The lyrics hit you and resonate with you because they’re authentic.
With equal measures of self-loathing and careful hope, Frightened Rabbit always seems to find a balance that allows their music to revel in the darkness of life, while also being aware of the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be that the light is very distant and bleak, or that you might have to wade through all kinds of shit to find it. But in the end, you will get there.
The Build-Up Effect
Frightened Rabbit have a way of writing songs so that they start out in an almost hushed tone, often with Hutchison’s trembling vocals accompanied by a guitar or percussion, which then builds as the songs become forceful and boisterous. It’s as though they begin in desperation and then crescendos to a point where that desperation is celebrated, and the result is exhilarating.
Songs like Dead Now, State Hospital, Woke Up Hurting, and Swim Until You Can’t See Land help to illustrate this point.
Their sound has expanded with each album, but the vulnerability and honesty have remained a constant, making each new release something to look forward to.
New Music and Touring
The band released their fifth studio album, Painting of a Panic Attack, in 2016 and it did not disappoint. The lyrics are as poignant as ever and the music expands on the sound that die-hard fans have come to love.
An upcoming live show at The Danforth Music Hall on May 29th will provide a great venue in which to see these guys play. Having yet to see the band live myself, I certainly have this date marked in my calendar as their visits to the area are few and far between. In fact, this will be their only stop in Canada during their tour.
Check out this playlist of my favourite tracks, from one of my favourite groups;