Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian
Indie folk darlings Frightened Rabbit have peeked out of their Scottish abode with song.
That’s putting it mildly, though. Listeners may find themselves checking the track number as if it were a watch, mystified by the fact that it wasn’t until the seventh or eighth track rolled around that the album dipped in quality and energy–and both “Housing” and “Dead Now” are still good songs.
The band played up the newly-shared song-writing duties and their positive effects, and this time, the Public Relations seems to have followed through. Though still a bit restrained and occasionally hampered by parts and flourishes that feel a bit too “stock indie rock,” the music here often soars. There’s a lot of rock to this folk, with stellar percussion and bass pushing the issue and dueling guitars giving each rousing chorus its lift.
Scott Hutchison–more mature but as self-aware as ever–has some of his best lyrical work yet, whether it be when railing against religion (“Late March,” “Death March” and “Holy”) or himself (“Holy” and “Oil Slick”). Even such playing with words like “holy” (“Now you’re acting all holy/me, I’m just full of holes”) falls into place with a satisfying click – especially in that Scottish accent.
Standout tracks are plentiful on a record as strong as this, especially when the other songs are quite undeniably lodged in the “good, not great” category. “Backyard Skulls” and “Holy” are the album’s punchiest pair, though the laid-back swerve and just-right punctuation of closer “Oil Slick” offers a strong late bid–the way Hutchison says “slick” is a delicious onomatopoeia.
“Pedestrian Noise” is anything but – it’s rather a “sterling early applicant” for all those end of the year lists.