If you’re Frightened Rabbit, how do you possibly build on the success of Pedestrian Verse? While arguably their most accessible work, it also felt oddly underrated despite the critical acclaim. Arguably, it deserved more than a slot in the Top 10 or an airing at Brixton Academy. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that, at times, the band were somewhat unrecognisable, buoyed by triumphant crescendos and beefed up riffs, while the more familiar moments of quiet reflection and sobering lyricism felt ever so slightly sidelined.
If Painting Of A Panic Attack isn’t a backwards step, it certainly casts a fond glance in the direction of much older material. A lot of the bombast that skyrocketed the previous record has been hushed in favour of ominous electronic flourishes and subtle, scratchy orchestration, and tracks like ‘400 Bones’ and ‘Get Out’ are better for the simplicity. Where a solo may have screeched into earshot before, many of the songs gorgeously fade away, Scott Hutchison’s brutal wordplay thrashing and bruising and shining on countless occasions. Despite its effortlessness, ‘Die Like A Rich Boy’ is the track that leaves the bloodiest mark. “Fuck these faceless homes and all that live in them”, Hutchison spits on ‘Still Want To Be Here’, a scathing assessment of LA as he struggles to find his place. In stark contrast, Frightened Rabbit have forged a fresh identity and it’s anything but forgettable. Painting Of A Panic Attack is impossible to shake.
Live: St John at Hackney Church – April 14th (sold out)