Release Date: Sep 25, 2012
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
A significant part of me doesn’t want to press play. Two years on from The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, this five-track EP is Frightened Rabbit’s first proper release on a major label - Atlantic Records, who signed the band in 2010. The fear is palpable: we all heard what happened to Death Cab. And sure enough, mere seconds into the title track and there’s the body of a rabbit dead at the side of the road I'm driving on, its expression sad as its innards leak onto the tarmac.
Following 2010’s lacklustre third album ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ and 2011’s slightly better ‘A Frightened Rabbit’ EP, the ‘State Hospital’ EP is, thankfully, a return to the sort of form that once had singer Scott Hutchison touted as one of the UK’s most expressive lyricists. The title track is a stunning burst of anthemic social conscience. ‘Wedding Gloves’, featuring Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat, is FR’s most ambitious work to date.
As singer, guitarist and frontman Scott Hutchinson recently wrote on his band’s website, “I suppose certain songs just don’t fit in to an album, but we thought these four still deserved to be given more than simply ‘B-side’ status.” Thus explains the creation of Frightened Rabbit’s most recent EP, State Hospital. Coming from one of Scotland’s most addicting recent exports, the cinematic five-track EP tells dramatic tales of war, loneliness and breakdowns. And the band—a five-piece from Glasgow noted for its gloomy and poignant, yet honest storytelling—sounds whole on this EP, which Hutchinson attributed to the full band writing these songs together.
Assembled from a collection of tracks that were deemed unsuitable for their upcoming fourth studio album, Pedestrian Verse, in addition to one lucky number that made the cut, the State Hospital EP is the first chance to hear whether Scottish quintet Frightened Rabbit have gone mainstream since signing to Atlantic Records. The presence of Aidan Moffat, the frontman of eternal miserablists Arab Strap, on the closing number immediately puts any sellout concerns to bed. Incredibly, his poetic spoken word intro on the gothic drone rock of "Wedding Gloves" isn't the most doom-and-gloom moment on the record, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the band's lack of commercial intent.
Frightened RabbitState Hospital EP[Atlantic; 2012]By Rob Hakimian; October 15, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetLast summer, when Frightened Rabbit released A Frightened Rabbit EP, which included a trio of new and good songs, it seemed that the Scottish quintet were in a rich vein of form and that it wouldn’t be long until we got their fourth LP and follow up to 2010’s The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Over a year later the fourth album is still forthcoming, but this seems to be a case of the band being more pragmatic than usual, rather than a case of writer’s block, and to thank us for our patience they’ve given us the five track State Hospital EP. Like last year’s A Frightened Rabbit EP, State Hospital lacks some coherency in style, but its brevity makes this less of a problem.
Intimacy is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about what makes for a great Frightened Rabbit song. It's true in multiple senses of the word-- much of their work is concerned with physical coupling or the pain derived from the lack thereof, and even when shooting for hackles-raising anthems, they're never playing for the cheap seats. Grand as they were, "The Modern Leper", "I Feel Better", and "Skip the Youth" still came off like an animated barfly keeping the regulars enrapt with their latest tale of romantic futility.
Glasgow’s Frightened Rabbit, whose indie rock is perpetually as wounded and nervous as their namesake animal, have been quiet of late, releasing only a very brief EP since 2010’s The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Now ahead of their fourth full-length, Frightened Rabbit offer a hold-over in the form of the five-track State Hospital EP. Fans will be pleased to find that the maturation evident between 2008’s critically acclaimed LP, The Midnight Organ Fight, and Mixed Drinks has been retained.
On their State Hospital EP, Scottish folk-poppers Frightened Rabbit make their major label debut on Atlantic after having enjoyed plenty of indie success from their releases on Fat Cat, 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight and The Winter Of Mixed Drinks in 2010. Now, the Glasgow quintet has released a handful of outtakes from their forthcoming LP, offering a taste of what’s to come. The title track paints a delicate portrait of a woman’s breakdown, frontman Scott Hutchison’s voice backed by stark, minimalist production punctuated by crisp percussion.
“We’ve definitely darkened our corners a little with this EP,’ says Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, of ‘State Hospital’. He’s right. And it suits them. The band have always been laced with a familiar sadness, but this EP, made up of offcuts from their forthcoming album, builds on the doom and gloom in both tone and theme.The title track, which will feature on the long player, is exemplary of the solemn maturity the Selkirk band has acquired.