Frightened Rabbit: Painting of a Panic Attack (Canvasback Music/Atlantic) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019  

Frightened Rabbit

Painting of a Panic Attack

Canvasback Music/Atlantic

Apr 12, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Sometimes two distinctly good-sounding things come together and don't quite synch like you wish they would. No matter how independently persuasive their formulas for musical emotiveness, there's always the question of chemistry when it comes to the first time collaboration of artists with already evolved identities. One wouldn't figure that this important intangible is a point of concern in the coalescence of Scottish outfit Frightened Rabbit with the production of The National's Aaron Dessner. On the contrary, the two groups share similar tones of anxious soul-searching in their brooding rock compositions that makes their pairing a seemingly logical and enticing proposition.

Alas, it is disappointing to opine that on Frightened Rabbit's fifth release, Painting of a Panic Attack, the incorporation of frontman Scott Hutchison's verses of cagey lament and realization into Dessner's poignant pop arrangements feels contrived rather than meant to be. A noticeable deference to Dessner's melodic design permeates the album, too often sounding like it could have been meant for The National, or else sounding like it was meant for Of Monsters and Men. Ultimately, something of the bracing, glass-clinking exuberance found in The Midnight Organ Fight and Pedestrian Verse is squelched.

Hutchison's voice does find its sweet spot in songs like "Blood Under the Bridge" and there are certainly other moments where the intended chord is struck between vocal projection and instrumentation. Somehow, though, his softened tenor sounds vacant of the passion that carried sweat and soot into his song in the past. The urgency that galvanized previous records, channeling a scrappy rabble-rouser, has trailed off somewhat.

To be perfectly clear, this take is in no way meant to assail the quality of musicianship or songwriting of either Frightened Rabbit or Aaron Dessner. It will neither diminish appreciation of their respective offerings, nor deter further listening. In all honesty, though, the color is a little dull in this painting. (www.frightenedrabbit.com)

Author rating: 4.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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