Frightened Rabbit bring their form of delicate, personal, and thoughtful music to the fore of their fifth studio album.
Not all music has to be loud, political and rebellious. Likewise not all music has to be brainless, thoughtless pop manufactured for the masses. Sometimes music can be delicate, thoughtful and personal, and this is the kind of music Frightened Rabbit have been dealing in since their creation. From humble beginnings as two brothers playing in a band together, Frightened Rabbit has gained a few members, gotten a little older and have now released their 5th studio album ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’.
Since their last album, released over three years ago, a lot has changed; lead singer Scott Hutchison has moved to LA, leaving the band separated by the Atlantic ocean, the band has lost a member and the whole of Frightened Rabbit has been given a rethink. After the success of album number – ‘Pedestrian Verse’ – to Scott, Frightened Rabbit had reached a triumphant finale, becoming the band he envisioned from a start. However, he decided it was the end of a chapter, not a story, and the next chapter, ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’, began to form.
The album opens with ‘Death Dream’, the first song released for the album, which very much sets the tone. Organ driven and ghostly, the song paints a sombre, painful picture, one that appears even more personal than that of previous albums, before dropping into ‘Get Out’. The two songs together really show what the album is about – love, loss, but also hope. More than anything, these songs lay out a new Frightened Rabbit with a slightly different sound, but who’s core element – the lyrical content – remains familiar and, if anything, more focussed.
‘I Wish I Was Sober’ and ‘Woke Up Hurting’ along with ‘Get Out’ compound the slightly rethought style of the band, introducing a greater element of electronic and a lesser use of the acoustic guitar – only really appearing on the closing number.
Despite the number of sombre songs on the album, there is the occasional moment where the guitar driven Frightened Rabbit from ‘Pedestrian Verse’ punches through. Particularly in ‘Break’, where the guitar driven chorus is infectious and is certainly the most upbeat and positive sounding track on the album.
‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’ draws to a close with three very different songs. The piano driven ‘400 Bones’ is the closest to a love song that Frightened Rabbit have ever reached, reflecting on the small, intimate moments between two people. The song builds and builds to dramatic effect before dropping back to a singular piano in an eerie stillness. ‘Lump Street’, however, delivers a dark, thumping and harsh reality to the listener before the album draws to a delicate conclusion with ‘Die Like A Rich Boy’. The song completes the album by combining elements of the Frightened Rabbit of old with the new style while providing a ghostly and refreshing view of life.
‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’ is the band’s most complete work to date; reinventing and reworking themselves while maintaining the soul and quality of the band – a feat rarely pulled off by any artist. Frightened Rabbit have gone from strength to strength over the last decade. Expect them to keep growing for another 10 years to come.
‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ is out now via Atlantic Records.
This Frightened Rabbit review was written by Luke Priestley, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.