Frightened Rabbit interview and review – Pedestrian Verse

After 3 years of anticipation, Frightened Rabbit are releasing their new album, Pedestrian Verse, tomorrow (4th of February 2013).I chatted to the bands frontman, Scott Hutchison, about the fresh material.

Intrigued by the album name, I asked Hutchison why that title was chosen.
“When I first started writing the album, I was trying to widen the scope of what I was writing about beyond my own life,” he informed me. “The working title of the record was always Pedestrian Verse – I wanted to set myself the challenge of calling it that so I could avoid writing about clichés and the meaningless and vacuous lyrics that are fairly common these days. I put myself in the firing line by picking that name so I couldn’t be slagged off for writing ‘pedestrian’ verses.”

After a few listens, it becomes clear that this record is the bands most musically advanced.
“It’s definitely a more mature album,” Scott agreed. “This is a development of what we’ve been trying to do with previous work – we’ve finally realised what we really wanted to sound like.”

Previously, Hutchison had the sole responsibility for writing and arranging the songs. This time, however, the band worked as a team to compose the tracks.
Scott told me: “For the first time ever we all pitched in. We all worked together and went to a couple of writing sessions out in the middle of nowhere in Scotland and it made for a much more interesting album – it’s slightly more eclectic than in the past, and we found that more exciting than it just being all my own work.”

The first single released from the 12-track record, titled The Woodpile, may have been a shock for loyal Frightened Rabbit fans; Hutchison admitted the single is “one of the most commercial songs I’ve ever written”. However, the band chose this to be the first single as it’s a ‘good door opener to the album’ with the potential to get a lot of people on board prior to the albums’ release.

Scott confessed: “I think there are better songs on the record, so people who are just finding out about Frightened Rabbit can delve into that. It’s a really exciting prospect, slowly bringing more people into the fold which is great.

However, The Woodpile was the most difficult for us to bring to completion. It’s not a complex song at all, but we each had different bits of each version that we liked. We’ve taken the good bits of each version and made the one you get to hear, but it took a long time.”

For those fans that aren’t enjoying the new-found commercialism, there’s no need to worry. The rest of the album returns to the angsty goodness of the Frabbit that we know and love.

The album begins with Acts of Man; with its edgy lyrics occasionally creating an uncomfortable feel, the song is a testimony to the lyricism of Hutchison – a theme that continues through the album.

“There’s a song on the album called Nitrous Gas, and it’s definitely the most personal to me,” Scott acknowledged. “It relates to a very specific point in my life…it becomes very clear what it’s about when you listen to it.”

He wasn’t joking. All those with broken hearts, steer clear; Nitrous Gas is an extreme tear-jerker.

State Hospital also contains the kind of nostalgic yet uplifting vibes that Frightened Rabbit are renowned for. Scott said: “State Hospital is about a female character living in an area of life I’ve had absolutely no experience with. It’s good to just try and put yourself in a position you’ve never been in and see life through their eyes”.

Highlights for me personally are the interlude tracks, Housing (In) and Housing (Out). Their catchy riffs and get-up-and-dance drumbeat are an instant pick me up from the touching intensity of the rest of the album.

Frightened Rabbit are touring Pedestrian Verse around the UK in February, returning to the Glasgow Barrowlands on Thursday 28th February – a show which sold out almost immediately.

“We’ve played Barrowlands twice before”, Scott reminisced, “but it seemed so overwhelming. Now it almost feels like we can say ‘okay, that’s fine, we’re ready for this’, whereas previously it was like, ‘what the f*ck are we doing playing Barrowlands?! How did this happen?!’

“I think everyone’s a bit more comfortable and so we’ll actually be able to process and enjoy it rather than be like, ‘oh my god what’s happening?!’. It’s going to be amazing.

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