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Frightened Rabbit - Sings the Greys

  by Russell Ferguson

published: 3 / 12 / 2007

Frightened Rabbit - Sings the Greys
Label: Fat Cat Records
Format: CD


Flawed, but promising debut album from Glaswegian trio Frightened Rabbit, who merge country and western and folk with an indie sound

The good people of Scotland have always had a weakness for country and western as well folk music. Having a Scottish background myself, I was brought up listening to Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond, John Denver and of course Johnny Cash (my parents managed to find one good artist at least!) So I am familiar with this Scottish thirst for something a bit more mellow and laid back. This love affair with folk and country and western music goes back so far that the Scottish have managed to make a unique and individual sound that they can truly call their own. Go to any working men's club north of the border and you will find a couple of bands with this sound singing how glorious the Highlands are, or how their heart belongs to Scotland or at least Glasgow. With this in mind you can see what Frightened Rabbit are trying to do, to combine this Scottish sound and to update it with the lighter sounds of indie music. Frightened Rabbit are essentially two brothers Scott (vocals, guitar) and Grant (drums, vocals)and since the beginning of 2006 have been joined by Billy (guitar, keyboards). 'Sings the Greys' is their debut album and from the first note to the last it promises to deliver more than it ever does. 'The Greys' is one of the better tracks off the album. It has something you can tap your foot to, but it’s a jagged, uneasy song that stumbles along. Other songs such as 'Snakes', 'Yawns' and 'Behave' are just guitar and vocals and very folky. They're not really very inspiring but it does give the album some sense of variation. 'Square 9' and 'Music Now' are much more upbeat and are much easier to take to, as is recent single, 'Be Less Rude'. These work better because they have stronger arrangements, with more instruments coming through, more solid beats and are just tighter in sound. Scott's vocals are best on these songs. When he sings the slower songs, his vocals drift a little too much for my liking. Another thing that doesn’t help this album is the three tracks, 'The First Incident', 'The Second Incident' and 'The Final Incident' which are just collections of sounds that have no direction or purpose and, with the longest being 1 minute 49 seconds, you ask yourself why are these on here? As a debut album, it’s a good first attempt and I applaud anyone who is trying to do something different, but it's an album of two halves that doesn’t always know which direction to take. The whole album sort of stutters and stumbles along and this distracts from the good songs on the record. It’s easy to criticise, however, when someone is trying to do something different and it doesn’t come off. For those of you who like their indie music to be on the lighter side, this isn’t a bad album but you may need to persevere a little and listen to it a few times before deciding if it’s for you or not.

Track Listing:-
1 The Greys
2 Music Now
3 The First Incident
4 Yawns
5 Be Less Rude
6 The Second Incident
7 Go-Go-Girls
8 Behave!
9 Square 9
10 The Final Incident

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live reviews

Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, London,2/10/2008
Frightened Rabbit - Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, London,2/10/2008
At a gig at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen as part of the Concrete and Glass festival, Anthony Middleton finds Scottish band's Frightened Rabbit's passionate, desperate and often foul mouthed tales of inadequacy having a lot to offer, but largely lost on an unresponsive crowd

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