On their first three releases Frightened Rabbit have more closely resembled an outfit fronted by a budding songwriting/front-man with backup players than a full band; that is not the case with Pedestrian Verse as it has all come together for the group with this release.
Scott Hutchinson has always been the main focal point of the group dating back to their origins (just him and a 4 track) but here all of the songs are written by the band as whole with Hutchinson providing the words. That flushed out dynamic elevates everything. The lush production and confident playing shows that these road tested tunes have worked their way into the framework of the players themselves.
Opening with the fantastic piano based “Acts of Man” the group begins simple before well placed guitar notes and deep drums layer onto things. Hutchinson’s lyrical prowess is evident from the get go, still addressing relationships, but moving from what feels specific to a more worldly view. The resentful or absent father/lover in the opener is easily identifiable from any walk of life or country. Even when he returns to his dying “Scottish living room” in “December’s Traditions” people can identify with the holiday familial angst.
“Holy” contains a killer bass line paired with questioning coming of emotional age lyrics while “The Woodpile” is the first arena ready track the band has brought fourth. The tune is grandiose in all of the right places possessing a mammoth build into chorus with slapping drums before things recede to breathe and swell again. The encore like “Oil Slick” is in a similar vein if a bit more restrained.
“Housing (in)” has hummingbird buzzing appeal while its counterpart “Housing (out)” bookends things winningly. “Nitrous Gas” seems simple at first glance but is deeply woven and “State Hospital” which dominated the bands most recent EP just sounds like another rock solid track amongst this (far from) Pedestrian Verse. Frightened Rabbit have gelled musically while not sacrificing lyrical depth, the resulting Pedestrian Verse is the best album of their career and one of the best so far of 2013.