Frightened Rabbit -Painting of a Panic Attack Review

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Painting Of A Panic Attack is the fifth studio album from Selkirk indie quartet Frightened Rabbit. Their soft rock has lazily been compared to Coldplay and this is disingenuous since the Hutchinson brothers who lead the band give off a higher lyrical and musical standard. It is true, however, that whilst being reliably delivering good quality albums, they are yet to eclipse the high of their debut effort in 2008. With the recruitment of The National’s Aaron Dessner as producer they look to hone their sound and give it an extra dimension that they recent albums haven’t had.

‘Get Out’ is a track that lends from and fuses understated electronica and bracing Indie Rock peaks together to form a song with a clear progression as the song builds in its verses for the sudden jolt of the chorus and the sweeping soundscapes they provide. It has indeed been done before, but nevertheless it has been achieved here with some success and a clear definition. ‘Lump Street’ centres around the violence surrounding a particular area – the grungy introduction perfectly resembles the emotions lead vocalist Scott Hutchison portrays. A quick flutter of piano and echoic vocals then follows to provide a pathway for the progressive additions of elegant harmonies and a more dominant drum section. The choruses prove to be a welcome contrast from the aggressive lyrics fashioned by the verses, with simple lyricism married to mystic vocals. This more atmospheric approach is similar to that of another single from their album, Death Dream. As the song continues, the delicately textured guitar, sourced from the choruses, builds, only to come to an ethereal climax in an abrupt instrumental section, before a more alternative rock song emerges from the abyss. Suddenly, the moody guitar riffs are rejuvenated into upbeat chords and the hard-hitting lyrics exposed in the verses are masked by a newfound energy. This is before the crashing drums and thriving guitars congregate to perform an exhilarating crescendo to conclude this rollercoaster of a track. If you listened to the first half of the song separately from the second, it is unlikely you would guess they are the same track. Somehow, Frightened Rabbit have been able to merge a moody track full of hostility with an almost cheerful ballad. And it works amazingly well.

‘Die Like a Rich Boy’ and is removed of the power the previous singles had and from much of the production flair too. Having said that, this simple acoustic track gives off the air of vulnerability to their upcoming album and a progressing string section that subtly and naturally adds to the song. Vocally, the peak is met with echoed edges and vocal harmonies. It is a simple track that is made a little more interesting through added instrumentation and intricate lyrics. A track that focuses on atmospheric power is found on ‘I Wish I Was Sober’ in which you get a real taste of their Scottish Borders accent which gives off warmth and understated boldness. This combines with the lifting power of the instrumentation and the vulnerable state of the lyrics. ‘Little Drum’ shifts and progresses in a shuffle of brass in which the more delicate vocals sit nicely. As the song progresses this shuffling extends and the song reaches greater expanses and the production opens the song up gradually. Whilst the production, vocals and lyrics are all strong, the album does bog down with serveral filler tracks that remain regurgitated forms of other songs on the album. As well as this, there isn’t a huge deal of originality too. The album is brilliant in places though and with it the band have reminded everyone of their capabilities.

Frightened Rabbit – Painting of a Panic Attack = 8/10

 

 

Owen Riddle and Eleanor Chivers

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