Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse


My brother introduced me to Frightened Rabbit (FR) about five years ago when they had just released The Midnight Organ Fight. I approached what I heard with caution - wary of yet another band writing in the style of so many folk artists at the time.

It didn't take long before I realised that the Glasgow-based band lacked a lot of the gooeyness, sentiment and romanticism that characterises swathes of this genre. There is an honesty and frankness in their lyrics that makes listening to them the showering equivalent of standing under an icy mountain waterfall.

Each album is a progression, a step forward from the last: bolder than its predecessor. Pedestrian Verse is exactly this. The first single: The Woodpile is rockier and explodes into a blockbusting chorus - worthy of its success on the radio. I expect that this song will help the band take their next step up. It sets the tone for rest of the album.

Pedestrian Verse starts darkly. There is a sense of bitterness and commitment to what the band refers to as 'miserabalism' - a freedom from writing songs to make people feel happy. This is a theme throughout their music. They have perfected the Scottish art of turning the gloomy into the anthemic. They've stuck with their usual guitar-heavy riffs with strong drums and atmospheric drones.

The band spoke of a desire to create a piece of work that felt well trodden, as if the songs were old friends rather than in the nervous stages of a new relationship.

What struck me was the sense of strength and confidence in the album. Dead Now is a good example of this. It starts slowly but builds itself up into a guitar-shredding climax. State Hospital (title track of their preceding EP) provides a break in the record that sets up a strong finale in Oil Slick with its sliding guitar riff and broken drum beat.

It feels as though the band have approached Pedestrian Verse with a sense of ease and comfort - despite the grimness of much of the content. The production is clever and well crafted - a real album apposed to a cobbled collection of songs.

Scott Hutchinson (lead singer) has spoken of how the band was named after his temperament as a child. The frightened rabbit has stuck his head out of the warren.