Saturday, February 27, 2010

Frightend Rabbit -- Too Brilliant for Words

We all knew it when we circled the date on our collective musical calenders that the new FRIGHTENED RABBIT record was going to be a big deal (at least to those of us in the blogosphere). There was the appropriate amount of worship of their last record (and a wee bit of sell out backlash for those who loved their debut) and our appetites had been whetted with "Swim Until You Can't See Land" being played live and released as a stand alone single well in advance. But I for one was not prepared for what I have been hearing over the past week. It is the sound of a band coming into focus in ways I could not have imagined. Freed from the constraints of writing about lost and jilted love, Scott Hutchison has found new depth in his poetry that is now matched with the power and drive of a fully realized band.

Whether it's the droning guitar that anchors the lead track, "Things" or the string arrangements that float around "Skip The Youth", the Rabbit have expanded their arsenal of sound without sacrificing their basic song structure. They are still, for lack of a better term, a pop band writing songs that are meant to be sung along to and they still find their way to the catchy tune for each track. "Nothing Like You" is a clean, simple pop number that is the closest to the Midnight tracks in style and tone. "Swim" feels right at home with this record where live it stuck out from the earlier stuff. "The Loneliness" and "The Wrestle" form the core of the record and seem to share a theme of isolation and despair that Hutchison rides throughout the album. "Not Miserable" sounds like the response to "Floating on the Forth" as the writer has now come to gripes with what happened and has started to move on. (which may explain why Hutchison has already stated he will not play this live, much like he rarely plays the other song). The album ends with "Yes I Would", which is soft coda to a work of upheaval and noise.

I can't really tell you what will happen with this band. There is so much depth to what they do that the possibilities are endless. My fear is that they will be pushed out as a middle of the road alternative band and get played on TV shows and movies. The reason that scares me is I think they could be so much more. They have a chance to be truly great. It's hard to remember it's still early. Someone with this much talent needs time to harness it and develop it. Scott Hutchison is that sort of talent. I'm glad I'm here to hear it unfold. You should be too...

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