Review: Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
Published on February 12th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
‘Anthemic’: it should be a positive trait, and yet it appears more and more to Rocksucker like the strikingly unusual colours of a presumably very dangerous spider. Frightened Rabbit’s fourth album Pedestrian Verse may not kill us, but the relentless tonality of its folk progressions and near-total uniformity of mood and presentation did bore us.
That’s not to say there’s nothing to commend this LP for – there are some fine ‘explosive’ dynamics, as on “The Woodpile”, while the respective skipping groove and sparsely lit campfire fare of closing pair “Dead Now” and “Nitrous Gas” make for welcome if belated changes of pace/tack – but for the most part these big, impassioned, unabashed, skyscraping numbers feel too much like a discerning person’s Killers or Mumford & Sons. And we really wouldn’t wish either of those reference points on any band.
It’s hard not to think of their compatriots The Twilight Sad on those moments where Scott Hutchison’s Selkirk tone protrudes, but while they share a thoughtful and personal lyrical approach with their Kilsyth counterparts, they lack the distinct identity, forfeited from the off by the chronic lack of imagination of the songwriting. You can emote and crescendo all you like, but if the songs refuse to go anywhere of interest then it just feels like shooting fish in a barrel, which going by the slew of rave reviews it would seem Frightened Rabbit have managed to do.
No amount of wryly poetic lyrics and miserablist sentiments can convince Rocksucker that Pedestrian Verse isn’t just something that We Are Augustines do with more invention. It may sound stirring and uplifting, but from a purely musical perspective we’re talking Michael Bay set pieces here.
Rocksucker says: Two Quails out of Five!
Pedestrian Verse is out now on Atlantic. For more information, please visit frightenedrabbit.com