Tuesday 23 January 2018

Scottish rockers' tunes are far from being pedestrian

Album Review: Frightened Rabbit Pedestrian Verse (Atlantic)

John Meagher

John Meagher

These Scottish folk-rockers have attained far wider acclaim in the US than in Britain and Ireland, although suggestions from one interviewer this week that they could be the next Mumford & Sons was met with thinly disguised contempt by singer Scott Hutchison: "I fucking hate that band.

"I thought their first record did something that I appreciated, but with the second they were just shovelling the same shit."

The same charge cannot be levelled at Hutchison's band. The group's sound has chopped and changed dramatically in their seven-year existence, especially as they have recently swelled from a trio to a fully-fledged quintet.

Pedestrian Verse, their fourth album, is a mixed bag that could use a little more focus, but there's plenty to be excited about.

At its best, the band's scope and ambition suggests they sound like a re-jigged Waterboys for a new generation.

The Woodpile demonstrates a keen commercial approach to their smartly-hewn folk-rock while Acts of Man is anchored in Hutchison's assertive Caledonian vocals.

Both songs revel in the sort of brutal honesty that's long been the band's stock in trade.

Some will baulk at Hutchison's miserabilist tendencies, but he acknowledges as much on Nitrous Gas – a darkly humorous and knowing song about being dismissed as a melancholy songwriter.

KEY TRACKS Nitrous Gas; Acts of Man

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