Album Review – Frightened Rabbit


Frightened Rabbit -‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks.’ (Fat Cat)

I was trying to work out the other day why it is that a band’s third album has so much resting on it. Then I realised: it all has to do with War, U2’s third album. This was the point, in 1983, at which the band broke through and were on their way to becoming -let’s face it – the biggest band of the last thirty years in the western hemisphere. They did more successful albums (The Joshua Tree) and artistically better ones (Achtung Baby) but this was the point at which, with years spent on album charts, top 10 hits, enormo gigs etc.. bands that had come from an ‘alternative’ sphere would be seen as truly having broken through. In subsequent years, it’s been the third album that’s been the marking point for the likes of Blur and Idlewild, even if the likes of REM and Red Hot Chili Peppers had to wait far longer.

Frightened Rabbit aren’t being talked about as having done a U2 – yet. But for a band not based in London, who are steadily making headway in the US (and touring alonside labelmates The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks) and appear to be ‘crossing over’, all eyes are on them now. Though the initial releases of their first two albums Sing the Greys and The Midnight Organ Fight may have made more impact north of the border than south it was a picture that was changing by the end of 2009. Zane Lowe and other DJ’s were picking up on the single ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ – the first single from this new album, and The Midnight Organ Fight made the NME’s list of the Top 100 albums of the decade.

So, the pressure is on them: to make the crossover, by delivering an album that’s good enough to make it, and take them beyond just being cult stars. Were Top Of The Pops still going, people would be expecting them to be putting out singles big enough for them to have a hit big enough for them to appear. Yet there’s also the worries of tall poppy syndrome, and that of whether in order to make the jump they’ll end up having to compromise what made them special in the first place.

However, I think that Frightened Rabbit can hold their heads high with this release. It’s not perhaps as immediate as The Midnight Organ Fight – yet, paradoxically, it feels more anthemic than either of their first two studio albums put together. Album opener ‘Things’ sounds like Frightened Rabbit still – but this time, instead of little clubs, it’s sets at outdoor rock festivals where they will be appearing ever higher up the bill. The aforementioned ‘Swim Until Yuo Can’t See Land’ starts off so fragile and yet proves itself to be a monster and makes even more context within the album than as a single.

Current single ‘Nothing Like You’ agains sounds like it could and should be a hit. Tellingly, on YouTube there are already a few people muttering that it’s not like FR used to be. Yet the catch 22 is that if it were, they’d be accused of repeating themselves. As an album it still feels like Frightened Rabbit -and with the sense of the cold and grey that seeps into your sou, bringing you down in the winter.

It’s not a jaw-dropping album, but it is still an excellent one. Frightened Rabbit are still singing the greys. And this time, they’re inviting everyone around the campfire. Budge up, there’s enough room for everyone.


The Winter Of Mixed Drinks is released on Monday on FatCat.

Frightened Rabbit -‘Nothing Like You’

Frightened Rabbit -‘Nothing Like You (alternative video)’

Frightened Rabbit -‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land.’

Frightened Rabbit…an almost weekly update…and Twilight Sad!


I know, I know…it’s been at least, what, a week at least since I mentioned Frightened Rabbit on here?

However, with Fat Cat sending me both the Twilight Sad’s remix of an Errors’ track (the remix of the opening track from Errors’ forthcoming album out on February 15, Come Down With Me), and the video for the new Frightened Rabbit single both arriving in my inbox today…how could I not?

To these ears, the Twilight Sad remix evokes Fuck Buttons (which is interesting, sorta, as the Errors played with Fuck Buttons in Scotland when they were both supporting Mogwai, whose label, incidentally, Rock Action, the Errors are signed to!)

Errors -‘Bridge Or Cloud? (Twilight Sad remix).’ mp3

Meanwhile, this is the video for the new Frightened Rabbit single ‘Nothing Like You’ out on February 22. I am fervently hoping that there is not going to be a backlash against Frightened Rabbit now they are getting the attention they so richly deserve.

Frightened Rabbit on MUZU

(Sorry I confused Frightened Rabbit with Twilight Sad earlier – a depressingly early senior moment at the age of thirty three)

Latest Frightened Rabbit track!


2010 is being tipped as being the year of Frightened Rabbit. Their third album, The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, is released by Fat Cat on March 1, 2010 and it is hoped that this release will be the one that takes the band into the major league that they deserve to be in.

The band – Scott Hutchison (vocals, guitar), Grant Hutchison (Drums, vocals), Billy Kennedy (guitar, keys), Andy Monaghan (bass, keyboard, guitar), and Gordon Skene (guitar, keys, percussion) showed that things had definitely moved up a notch towards the end of last year when the first single ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ proved not just a hit with bloggers but also with Zane Lowe and the NME, the latter including it in their top fifty tracks of 2009 (at #40).

You really should have heard the single by now -and if not, why not? – but here is the video:

Meanwhile, their latest single ‘Nothing Like You’ is streaming over at their myspace. It’s another cracking tune that deserves to build upon and extend the fanbase that ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ achieved. This is a song that can light up festivals and warm your heart. I’m willing to bet that in 2010 it will…and beyond.

Not only that, but Big Cat’ have also generously made another track available as a free download ahead of the album’s release. ‘Fun Stuff’ (which prat derided these guys as northern miserabilists?!) is more of an album track is more reflective than the two singles, and works best as an album track. This is not to do it down, however; it’s gorgeous and shows yet another side to this band. Update: this was the b-side to ‘Swim’ and is definitely worth hearing.

I can’t wait for these guys to have the success that they so clearly deserve, and March 1 seems just so far away right now. Let’s hope that the ‘Tall Poppy syndrome’ doesn’t kick in for them.

Frightened Rabbit -‘Fun Stuff.’ mp3

Frightened Rabbit’s myspace

Frightened Rabbit, anyone?


It is St. Andrew’s Day today – the day of Scotland’s Patron Saint, so I thought I’d post a track by a very fine Scottish band.

Or rather, I’d post two ever so slightly different versions of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop.’

This has come out in both 2007 and 2008, so take your pick and see what you think…

Frightened Rabbit -‘It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop [2007 version].’ mp3

Frightened Rabbit -‘It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop [2008 version].’ mp3.

For a free track from their 2008 sophomore release, see here

Meanwhile, they released a fantastic new single two weeks ago, entitled ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land.’ This is taken from their forthcoming third album, due out in 2010:

Check out the video here:

the new album is entitled The Winter Of Mixed Drinks and is released on fatcat on March 1.

2. ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’
3. ‘The Loneliness & The Scream’
4. ‘The Wrestle’
5. ‘Skip The Youth’
6. ‘Nothing Like You’
7. ‘Man/ Bag Of Sand’
8. ‘Foot Shooter’
9. ‘Not Miserable’
10. ‘Living In Colour’
11.‘Yes I Would’