Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Riding the waves of praise since the release of their last album, The Midnight Organ Fight, Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit are poised for their breakout album.  They’ve amassed a large following built on their recordings and a knack for delivering powerful shows to audiences across the globe.  The Winter of Mixed Drinks finds the group middling between intimate club group and powerful arena-ready rock band.

The Hutchison brothers, Grant and Scott, remain the core focus of the band.  It’s Scott’s vocals that dominate throughout the record, and Grant’s drum tracks that foreshadow a blistering live show.  But, at times, it doesn’t appear as if too much musically is going on within the songs aside from these two, despite three other members now being part of the entourage. Take “Things” or “The Loneliness and the Scream,” for example, which don’t actually have too much traditional songwriting to them, at least as far as the instrumentation dictates the song.  In the latter, it seems as if the guitar is merely there to keep Scott on pace.  This isn’t a huge knock against the band, as Hutchison’s voice can carry the band alone, but it does lead you to wonder precisely what the songwriting process was during recording.

“The Wrestle” is the first song where you can hear a bubbly bass line just beneath the surface of the vocals.  In creating this underlying tension, along with a staccato-sort of guitar strumming, the vocals really pull at you.  It’s such a song where you can picture the band belting it out on stage to throngs of adoring fans who all sing along simultaneously.  These are the type of moments you came to expect from Frightened Rabbit.

Guitars finally begin to crash upon your ears when you come to “Nothing Like You,” which is the fastest song on The Winter of Mixed Drinks.  This is the sort of song that has the pacing and drum work to really win over fans in the live setting, but for some reason it doesn’t really seem to fit into the collection of songs here.  Most of the songs have a slower, almost folk approach, so it feels sort of lost.

Much should be noted of the possible influence of fellow Scots The Twilight Sad.  Many songs seem to be coated in atmospheric noise, but only as an extension of the song.  “Not Miserable” has sort of a slow, drawn-out beginning, fleshed out by a fuzz in the background, whilst piano lines sputter along.  It’s something that leads you to focus on the lyrical content, which is perhaps a very current Scottish trend.  Then again, it seems like using atmospheric backing all about is just a general fad in the industry.

Once you finish your listening experience, it’s hard to sit down and think back to superb moments on The Winter of Mixed Drinks.  Every single song is pleasant, and some might say they are all good tunes, but none of them really achieve that feeling of exceptionality one expected from Frightened Rabbit this time around.  They filled the record with decent tunes, but leave you feeling somewhat indifferent, which is something you surely can’t say at their wonderful live shows.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/swim-until-you-can_t-see-land.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land [MP3]

New Music From Frightened Rabbit

frightened_rabbitScottish indie-rockers Frightened Rabbit have a single called “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” that’s been floating around the internet over the last few days.  This tune is being offered as a sneak preview of the band’s upcoming album to be released in March of 2010.  The band’s label, Fat Cat Records, is also streaming new track “Fun Stuff”.  We like ’em both.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/swim-until-you-can_t-see-land.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land [MP3]

Frightened Rabbit @ Mohawk (9/24)

frightened_rabbit

Date 9/24/09
Location Mohawk
Doors 8pm
Tickets $10 from Frontgate

Mohawk is the place to be on Thursday night with solid bands playing on both the inside and outside stages.  The outside stage features headliner Frightened Rabbit along with The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks.  After the outside festivities shut down, the inside stage lineup includes locals Corto Maltese and buzz band Division Day.  Now that’s how you get your monies worth.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/frightened-rabbit-last-tango-in-brooklyn.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Last Tango in Brooklyn [MP3]

Broken Records

32242jpegNot too sure if we’re late getting on the bandwagon for Edinburgh band Broken Records, but you can consider us fully aboard the fan train.  Sounds and influences seem to draw heavily from fellow Scottish indie bands like Frightened Rabbit with a more native Celtic sound. Forming in the land of Scots back in 2006, the band is set to release a debut full length album Until the Earth Begins to Part on June 1st via the famous 4AD record label.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/06-if-eilert-loevborg-wrote-a-song-it-would-sound-like-this.mp3]

Download: Broken Records – If Eilert Loevborg Wrote a Song it Would Sound Like This [MP3]

New Frightened Rabbit Tune

Frightened Rabbit have a new song that we found on the old interweb yesterday.  The song is called “Last Tango in Brooklyn” and appears on a new fake book compilation called The Lifted Brow.  You might be surprised by the different sound from the band, but the tune is still quite tasty.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/frightened-rabbit-last-tango-in-brooklyn.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Last Tango in Brooklyn [MP3]

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