Tuesday Is For Tunes: Frightened Rabbit

A couple weeks ago Frightened Rabbit released The Winter of Mixed Drinks, their third full-length. I picked up a copy within a week of its release, but I really needed to sit and listen to it for a while before I felt ready to give it a proper review here on Tuesday Is For Tunes. This album leaves me conflicted. There are a few tracks that will be strong competitors for my best songs of 2010 list, namely Swim Until You Can’t See Land, The Loneliness and The Scream, and Nothing Like You. But at least as of right now, The Winter of Mixed Drinks probably won’t make the cut for best albums. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that in a few years, I’ll rediscover this album and appreciate Frighten Rabbit even more. At least to me, that is a sign of true genius. Here are some reviews of my choice cuts, tracks I’m am definitely smitten with.

Swim Until You Can’t See Land is a golden track, embodying everything the first single from an album ought to be. It has talented composition, discerning recording, and a contagiously catchy chorus. Most importantly it’s representative of the whole album, while being clearly one of the best songs on it. Of course, I’m a sucker for the cute, sunny riff backed by shaker percussion that forms the foundation of the song. By the time the handclaps come in, I am uncontrollably moved to clap my hands and sway my body.

Imperceptibly slow crescendos and gang shouts with plenty of reverb are the keys to my heart, or at least my ears. The Loneliness and The Scream has both, and consequently had my attention on the first listen. When I finally see Frighten Rabbit live, I pray that the audience sings along with arms wrapped around comrades, big smiles, and enough kick drum stomping to shake the rafters. It’s the kind of song bands open their sets with to immediately get the crowd going.

Picking up the tempo a bit, and dashed with a little extra piano, Nothing Like You has the most pop value of any song on the album. I like it that way, though. It’s danceable, and when strings are added to the mix, the orchestration is impressive. Additionally, it’s one of the few songs from the album that ends succinctly instead of fading out, making it a particularly tidily written little number.

Whether or not I eventually fall head over heals for The Winter of Mixed Drinks, I’m quite happy I got this album. If you missed the 2008 buzz of Frighten Rabbit’s last album, their new album is still a solid introduction to the band that is sure to appeal.

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