Frightened Rabbit

The Winter Of Mixed Drinks

Written by: TL on 21/12/2010 01:03:14

Moving on from one underwhelming indie-rock release, it's now time for one that's been quite a positive surprise. I first heard of the band Frightened Rabbit, when I read that they had inspired darlings of mine We Were Promised Jetpacks, and seeing how I was formulating my "all Scottish bands are awesome" theory at the time, I made a mental note to check out the Selkirk quintet's sophomore record. What then happened, I am not sure, but I didn't really get around to getting into "The Winter Of Mixed Drinks", and had actually more or less abandoned the record until I gave it an odd spin last week.

Man am I glad I did, because here's a ray of sunlight amidst an otherwise not-so-interesting streak of things I have to write about. But hey, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to talk about the sound. First of all, I can hear the resemblance to We Were Promised Jetpacks, especially in songs such as "The Loneliness And The Scream", "Nothing Like You" and "Living In Colour", but from many other songs, FR tend to be more subtle, more intricate and more versatile, especially in the rhythm department.

The versatility comes into play partly when the band lets its celebrative moods grow out of occasionally darker and noisier ones, during which I'm tempted to draw comparisons to The Twilight Sad, and partly during the moments when horns add to the soundscape, which I'd almost liken to The National or Battle Creek. When all comes to all however, FR seem rather unique, due to their particular mix of moods, tempos and due to vocals that manage to soar while still retaining a slight touches of restraint and introversion.

What's most important however, is of course that the band have put it all together in songs that are consistingly exciting. In fact, I think this record would make it easier for me to write a "Do NOT download" section below here, than the usual "Download" one, simply because there are more memorable songs here than there are lulls. Sure, some noticeable refrain-repetition might help the band more often than not, but hey, when a song generally feels good, do you really mind singing along to it's chorus a fair number of times? Didn't think so, and that's why opening duo "Things" and "Swim Until You Can't See Land" should make instant impressions on you, as should the likes of "Skip The Youth" and "Living In Colour".

But hell, there are too many to be mentioned, because when I look at the tracklist, I realize that nine out of thirteen songs figure as 'memorable' in my mind, leaving only four in the more mundane 'enjoyable' category. That however, is not even the best part - That would be the nagging feeling, that my attempt at communicating the goodness of this record is a little bit clumsy - Like I've only really scratched the paint of its quality. It's the feeling that allows me to not only praise it after only a handful of listens, but also makes me want to listen to the record more after this review is over. So yeah, during a week when I've been drunker than drunk and my town has been colder than cold, I guess it's only fitting that my favourite record of the now is called "The Winter Of Mixed Drinks".

Download: Skip The Youth, Things, Swim Until You Can't See The Land, Nothing Like You
For The Fans Of: We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Twilight Sad, The National, Battle Creek
Listen: myspace.com/frightenedrabbit

Release Date 07.09.2010
FatCat Records

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