Reviewed: Frightened Rabbit’s ‘Pedestrian Verse’.
Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit have come a long way in the past few years. Releasing their debut album Sings The Greys back in 2006 to little fanfare, singer Scott Hutchison and his band developed significantly as a group after the release of its successor The Midnight Organ Fight – with its lust filled lyrics and potent introspection, the album was a critical success.
Yet a week after the release of their fourth effort Pedestrian Verse, this epic-sounding five piece are still playing small venues such as the Waterfront; not that lead singer Scott Hutchison seems at all put-off.
“It’s great to be back in Norwich. Last time we were here we played a in church,” he says after openers Holy and Fast Blood. “Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.” Following strong support slots from Washington Irving and Wintersleep, Frightened Rabbit are clearly humbled to be here. The set already proves a hybrid mix of material from across their career, with Living In Colour getting the first big reaction from the assembled. Followed by the rousing Nothing Like You and Old Old Fashioned, the band are already on a high, even with first-night-of-the-tour nerves.
Despite early fears, material from Pedestrian Verse goes down a storm, with its first single The Woodpile providing the highlight of the evening. Hutchison also connects strongly with his audience, the banter between each song including an ironic comparison to Jesus, as well as getting the crowd to belt communal “ahhs” whilst the band sort out a drum problem – there is a soft religiosity to it all.
The audience’s enthusiasm dies down somewhat during the second half of the main set, arms folded tight amidst tamer numbers like Backyard Skulls. Yet the band’s return for a three-song encore is greatly anticipated, and with some of some of their most recognisable tunes like The Modern Leper and Swim Until You Can’t See Land played, it goes down as a strong climax.
With this setlist, it is clear that Frightened Rabbit want to appeal to devotees alongside newer recruits tonight. Though not all of their songs seem to quite translate in grandness to a live setting, the band nevertheless gives a rousing performance that showcases their ever-growing potential, be it in a garage or a church.