My album of the month for March is ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ by Frightened Rabbit; the third studio album from the Selkirk boys and another big step forward.
The basic, demo-like simplicity of ‘Sing the Greys’ was followed by a more polished sound on ‘Midnight Organ Fight’, and this time round they’ve chosen to have a play with almost every tool in the indie/alternative/rock band handbook.
It all sounds great, never forced or unnecessary – there’s a wider range of instrumentation, sweeping string arrangements, vocal harmonies, delicate melodies, stirring anthems, even a sample from Songs of Praise – all used to add richness and texture, never drawing the focus but always contributing something to the mix.
Current favourite tracks are ‘Living in Colour’ and the magnificent first single ‘Swim Until You Can’t See land’.
Undoubtedly the new sound should lead to a much deserved wider audience, but let’s hope it’s not a first step toward a blander, Snow Patrol inspired, stadium friendly sound.
Hopefully the FRs will retain their spikiness, keep the darkness and strangeness in their lyrics and that no-one will try and smooth out that slightly sharp-edged top-end to Scott Hutchinson’s voice that keeps pulling you back to the vocals.
So, don’t give in to temptation boys – like the song says ‘Are you a man or are you a bag of sand’