Frightened Rabbit - The Woodpile EP


I’m really enjoying what Frightened Rabbit are doing at the moment. Such is the prolific nature of their songwriting they are able to accompany the release of each single from their latest album Pedestrian Verse with a full EP. Such is the level at which they are writing they aren’t filling those three extra spaces with what wasn’t good enough for the album – they’re putting out records of a consistently high quality. This is a band at the top of their game. The latest offering form the Glasgow band The Woodpile EP (released 2nd September) is another stride up their already very steeply ascending path.

The title track of the EP opens proceedings with a heavy thump. Before Frightened Rabbit released Pedestrian Verse they gave us a video to this song, and I can still remember the excited tingling that I felt during my first listen/watch. It is rockier than a lot of what the band have written before, with an anthemic chorus befitting the pinnacle of a stadium sized performance. This isn’t to say it betrays the subtleties that make Frightened Rabbit one of Scotland’s most engaging and interesting bands. It has intelligently groovy rhythms, lyrics that you can actually understand the meaning of (surprisingly rare), and a crunching electric guitar that drives, without any hint of cliché or conformity.

‘Default Blues’ keeps the energy level high with the help of some well-constructed electronic beats and synthesisers – an art that Frightened Rabbit have become more confident with, with increasingly successful results. It’s based around the idea of facing oneself, and not hiding from the truth. The line ‘What are you running from- the past may die but it’s never gone’ repeat at the end. Perhaps this is a personal reminder, or a piece of frank advice.

The penultimate song ‘Radio Silence’ has similarities to one of my favourite songs on the album, ‘Holy’, in that it is fast paced with very intense choruses. The EP ends with ‘Candlelit’, the slowest of the four, but by no means the least impactive. Vocal harmonies precede the introduction of a broken feeling drum beat. The song continues a familiar theme that Frightened Rabbit have taken to heart. This revolves around a scepticism of human nature, and certainly the state of modern society. ‘In this modern age the image of valor has changed’ – a very similar sentiment to those expressed in ‘Acts of Man’ the opening song on Pedestrian Verse.

Frightened Rabbit poses an obvious gift for almost genius social commentary and observation. There is also an emotional rawness and instability that stands deliberately and unashamedly unmasked in their records and in their songs. The combination of this and a brilliant gift for songwriting has yielded spectacular results. It is a privilege to observe.

The band have just announced a full UK tour which will start in November.