20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Frightened Rabbits’ Winter Of Mixed Drinks by Marc Sollinger

Frightened Rabbit manages to do some good things, with a lot of sameness as well

PREVIEW: VISIT Frightened Rabbit’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20

Frightened Rabbit make anthems.  Their songs soar, rise and crescendo, coalescing in choruses that the listener is powerless not to sing along to.  Their songs are sweeping, epic and grand, cataloguing nothing but the most deeply felt emotion.  Frightened Rabbit seem incapable of writing anything without an almost obscene level of pulsating energy just below, and more frequently above, the surface of the song.  Their new album The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, is more of the same.  But, that’s not always a bad thing.

Sounding like a Scottish version of Arcade Fire, all crashing crescendos, ghostly atmospherics, and expressive vocals, The Winter of Mixed Drinks takes the self-loathing of their previous album Midnight Organ Fight, and manages to keep it entirely intact.  Scott Hutchinson, the lead singer and songwriter of Frightened Rabbit, may be the most depressing British lyricist since the glory days of Morissey, yet the band never sounds anything less than hopeful.  The credit for this belongs both to Hutchinson’s powerful, passionate delivery and the wonderful, thrilling guitars pounding along right beside him.

Hearing a song like “Not Miserable,” which unlike its misleading title is entirely miserable, one should have felt like bawling their eyes out. Yet instead, you end up singing along with a smile on your face.  In fact, it’s impossible not to sing along to most tracks on The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Each is just too catchy.  That being said, they do tend to blend together, with one song failing to be too different from the next.  The Winter of Mixed Drinks still manages to do some great things, with its soaring, deeply felt anthems. But with very little difference from track to track, the album can fall short of its potential in some respects.

-Marc Sollinger

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