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Music Review: Frightened Rabbit's 'Pedestrian Verse'

By Katelyn Harrop Assistant Entertainment Editor

It has now been six years since the release of “The Midnight Organ Fight,” Frightened Rabbit’s second full-length album, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s one of the best early albums of the last 10 years. The band’s first, third and fourth albums were all quite good, but none matched the honest, raw tone and songwriting of the sophomore LP. I began to listen through “Pedestrian Verse,” Frightened Rabbit’s newest creation, optimistically hoping that it would rival its predecessor and found myself the tiniest bit disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great album and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can’t help feeling like it still lacks the earnestness of “The Midnight Organ Fight.” Maybe it’s not fair for me to compare the newest album, which was produced on the major label Atlantic Records by the now well-established band to the debut LP that served as the group’s attempt to gain industry respect and attention. Maybe such deep and youthful intensity just naturally dulls as a band’s career progresses, but I find myself unable to accept this.  Not in relation to a band with such raw talent.

In any case, “Pedestrian Verse” is hardly disappointing when considered independently. The sounds towards the beginning of the album are a little hallowing, but pick up exponentially during track four, “The Woodpile,” which is by far the catchiest and most outwardly “pop” song on the album.  The chorus’ hook is undeniable and the lyrics are deeply relatable to an average listener. “I’m trapped in an abandoned building/ come find me now, we’ll hang out/ we’ll speak in our secret tongues/ will you come back to my corner?” Such straightforward lyric writing is an obvious sign of Frighten Rabbit’s transition from an indie group with angst to a full-fledged rock band. The album continues to pick up after “The Woodpile” and features an attractive tune in “Late March, Death March,” a killer guitar solo in “Dead Now” and inspiring writing in “State Hospital.” Although the album turns out to be fairly well rounded, the absence of a lyric-driven ballad is obvious. While “Nitrous Gas” does a passable job at filling the gap, I, once again, found myself missing a track comparable to the incredibly relatable and emotional song, “Poke” from “The Midnight Organ Fight.”

I admit that due to their past experiences, I hold “Pedestrian Verse” to an almost unfairly high standard. The album is well crafted, mature, thoughtfully written and pleasantly guitar driven. I also found myself once again engulfed in the undeniably attractive voice of Scottish lead singer, Scott Hutchinson, who’s vocal’s really drove the album. “Pedestrian Verse” is exactly what the title suggests: an album written and recorded to be appreciated by a wide range of listeners, including the general “pedestrian” listener. I would recommend checking out not only this album, but also the rest of Frightened Rabbit’s work if you are a fan of Admiral Fallow, Manchester Orchestra or Neutral Milk Hotel.

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