Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse (4 stars)

Missing circuitous narratives and flipside thrills but sounding bigger and heavier than ever

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Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse

(Atlantic)

Long before they became an international major label concern; before they provoked a rampant wireless love-in from Radio 1’s Zane Lowe with new single ‘The Woodpile’; before they wrote our alternative national anthem in 2008’s ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ -- alt.rock five-piece Frightened Rabbit were a fraternal Selkirk duo. They were Scott (vocals/guitar) and Grant Hutchison (drums), and the brothers’ cardinal dynamic still fires up Frightened Rabbit’s beating heart. It rebounds across this terrific fourth album from a band who sound bigger, and heavier, than ever.

If Pedestrian Verse is missing the circuitous narratives and flipside thrills that made 2008’s second LP, Midnight Organ Fight (Fat Cat) a landmark, then it compensates with front-loaded melodic indie-rock in spades: not least the audacious swagger of ‘The Woodpile’ and the thundering, whistling euphoria of hit-in-waiting ‘Late March, Death March’ -- a match for anything they’ve released that embodies their modus operandi: drum-propelled, anthemic indie, offset with bruised, sometimes desolate lyrics (dissing the holy man, baiting mortality, lobbing apologies, ad infinitum).

But if it’s a reassuringly Frabbit-esque sentiment that closes the album on glorious swansong ‘The Oil Slick’ -- with the line ‘these are disastrous times’ -- then observe the concluding radiant riffs, the major chord and the birdsong that says: there are bright skies ahead.

Frightened Rabbit - The Woodpile [Official Music Video]

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