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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Frightened Rabbit

By Bruce Miller
Published June 13, 2008

The Midnight Organ Fight
Fat Cat

Lately it’s getting mighty hard to listen to a record with the feeling that you’re sitting on something that just might explode, but this Glaswegian trio’s sophomore platter feels like that very thing. With an urgency that recalls the best of Okkervil River or The Frames, Frightened Rabbit step into the cynic’s ring with gloves on, hell-bent on delivering euphoric pop upper cuts and brilliant songwriting jabs. “Old Old Fashioned” creeps down a moonlit dirt road of twang, but builds in intensity through restrained repetition of its main guitar line—just the kind of elated delivery that permeates the album, as if the whole band is going on its first vacation and can’t help but burst into song. That the lyrics often deal with the questioning of faith or heartbreak only makes the musical clothes they wear that much sturdier, if not a bit tattered. If these boys can’t restore belief in the power of song, the wonder of mortality or the simple pleasures of a back-country bike ride, then there really isn’t any hope, is there?