My first two memories of the band Frightened Rabbit both occurred while sitting at my desk at work a couple years ago. The first came while I was listening to my old, portable XM player and the song “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms” came on. I immediately liked it and took note of the band who sang it.
Then, within a day or two — it might’ve actually been later that night — a friend called and mentioned wanting to see the band in concert. Even though I’d only heard the one song, I figured it was all a sign that I needed to go to the show.
I saw them at Double Door in Chicago — my friend actually had to miss the show, but I was accompanied by a couple lady friends, so it was his loss. They opened for French Kicks, but in my mind, Frightened Rabbit was the best band on the bill. I ended up picking up a signed copy of the group’s debut album, Sing the Greys, to go along with my then-recently burned copy of their follow-up, The Midnight Organ Fight.
Frightened Rabbit released its third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, last month, and it’s a continuation of their signature fast-slow, soul-baring Scottish rock.
I recently began listening to Pandora.com, and a common song element I’ve seen is “repetitive melodic phrasing.” That’s a pretty apt description of Frightened Rabbit’s tunes. Their entire catalog is full of songs that seem to have been written with the soul purpose of getting the choruses stuck in your head.
According to Pandora, similar artists include Band of Horses, The Decemberists, The Shins and Modest Mouse — so you can see why I like them so much. But, personally, I think they sound most like one of their Scottish brethren, Twilight Sad.
Here’s how Heather Phares of All Music Guide describes the band on Pandora:
With each release, Frightened Rabbit’s music grows by leaps and bounds: they offered humble, moody folk-pop on Sing the Greys, which they expanded into searching rock on Midnight Organ Fight. On Winter of Mixed Drinks, they focus and polish Organ Fight‘s epics — and add a healthy dose of optimism.
It’s clear that I don’t have that polished of an ear. My critique of Frightened Rabbit is that it seems like they only have about two or three songs in their repertoire, and they’ve just kept repeating them over three albums now. But it’s tough to hate on the band, because any time I play their music, any contempt I may have quickly melts away.
Head over to their MySpace page and listen to “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”, their catchy first single off Mixed Drinks. They have a few other songs there for your perusal.
As for me, the song that first introduced me to the band is still my favorite …