Frightened Rabbit

Boldly seizing a moniker his mother hung on him when social anxiety held him back a year in nursery school, Scott Hutchinson's Northern Scotland quintet Frightened Rabbit plays earnest, self-searching paeans that ring with the sonorous indie-pop echoes of spiritual and regional antecedents The Vaselines, Orange Juice and the Delgados. Before Frightened Rabbit, Hutchinson played with his brother Grant in their high-school band, Friendly; when he graduated from the Glasgow School of Art, Scott returned to this first love, playing solo before adding Grant on drums and, later, childhood friend Billy Kennedy on bass. Frightened Rabbit was on the verge of signing to Universal imprint Polydor in 2005 before the label pulled out at the last minute to focus its energies on adding the UK's answer to the Backstreet Boys, Take That, and eventually signed to English indie Fat Cat for 2006's Sing the Greys. Though filled with dulcet jangle-pop, Greys lacked the bite and emotional resonance on 2008 follow-up The Midnight Organ Fight. As the wry title suggests, Organ is a breakup album fueled by the clever anguish of tracks like "The Modern Leper" and "Keep Yourself Warm." These days Frightened Rabbit is supporting its third album, last year's The Winter of Mixed Drinks, written in Crail on the Scottish coast, as Hutchinson spent two months decompressing from 18 months of touring. The song "Swim Until You Can't See Land" serves as a fine touchstone for the album's spirit of self-discovery after so long away from home.


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