01 Mar, 2013

Frightened Rabbit – “Pedestrian Verse”

Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian VersesAs I walked around campus today, headphones stuffed underneath my hat, I listened to Frightened Rabbit’s newest musical contribution. It didn’t take long for the album to prove itself worthy of the title Pedestrian Verse. The upbeat, driving sound the band has produced motivated me to keep moving through the cold air and first flakes of snow. Since The Winter of Mixed Drinks, Frightened Rabbit’s 2010 release, they’ve demonstrated a knack for keeping us warm in cold weather. The band’s full sound, primarily propelled by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Scott Hutchinson, is rich with energetic rhythms and a sort of comforting familiarity, not so different from drinks by the fire on a cold day.

While still similar to The Winter of Mixed Drinks and Frightened Rabbit’s earlier music, Pedestrian Verse establishes the evolution of the band to a new level. The tracks seem more refined and resonant, but still maintain a sense of familiarity. In most ways, this album particularly contradicts the band’s name, for their music certainly does not sound “frightened” at all. For me, the new album represents their boldest, most developed sound yet. Piano opens the album in “Acts of Man” with confident and cheering chords that progress into the lyrics, guitar and percussion accompaniment. Highlights of the album include “The Woodpile,” also released as a single, “Housing,” recorded twice in electric and acoustic versions, and “December Traditions,” which follows the band’s bent towards winter themes. Each shows Frightened Rabbit’s experimentation and growth as well as the familiarity and comfort in their sound.

At times, however, I find Frightened Rabbit’s sound a bit too familiar. As I listened, I realized I spent more time trying to figure out what artist I was reminded of rather than actually hearing the music for what it was.While I enjoyed Pedestrian Verse, I deducted that snippets from it reminded me somewhat of Mumford and Songs, or Of Monsters and Men. Of course, it’s not necessarily bad for Frightened Rabbit to be reminiscent of these bands, but perhaps the reason I find their music so familiar is that it reminds me of music I’ve already heard. Despite this, on the whole, the album was impressive, leaving a sense of satisfaction similar to that of coming inside to warm up from the snow.

Review by Kate Gregory.

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