Frightened Rabbit

Moving from Grey to Living in Colour

Scotland and Indie rock bands go hand-in-hand. Think The Twilight Sad, Idlewild, The Fratellis and Biffy Clyro. Hailing from this breeding-ground of talent, more specifically Selkirk, is Frightened Rabbit. The band is front-man, Scott Hutchison’s creation, joined in the early days by his percussionist brother, Grant. Hutchison’s childhood tendencies to become antisocial when faced with other children earned him the moniker “Frightened Rabbit” from his mother. The reason this name resonates says a lot about the band’s emotional and personal influences. “I’m definitely an observer rather than one to take part, and that plays a part in the way I see and respond to the world.”

This keen eye has allowed Hutchison to create witty narratives full of metaphors, which counteract his discomfort with articulating himself in public, he confesses: “The only way I know how to express myself accurately and eloquently is to write it down and put it in a song. The rest of the time I’m awkward and have no idea what to say.” As lead singer and lyricist, Hutchison takes advantage of his role to put the world and his ex-girlfriends to rights.

The Winter of Mixed Drinks is a world away from previous album, The Midnight Organ Fight (2008). Its predecessor contained rushed lyrics that struggled with the meter of the music whilst flowing with emotion, anger and often suicidal imagery, “Am I ready to leap? / Is there peace beneath / The roar of the Forth road bridge.” The glimmer of hope from the end of this album (“Take your life / Give it a shake”) leads us, with nautical imagery, into The Winter of Mixed Drinks. From Floating in the Forth to taking control in order to Swim Until You Can’t See Land. The theme of the record, explains Hutchison, is about exploring the “process of losing yourself without the grounding aspects that anchor your personality around you. The album is me trying to work out who I am, and what it means to be a person and alive.”

Profound musings, although Hutchison insists that although they still have an element of darkness, they are investigated with optimism, which reflects his personal change in circumstance, an unavoidable outcome of such personal writing. “I can’t help but be influenced by things that happen to me, and I wouldn’t want to force that angst and that jagged sound if it wasn’t happening.” The almost scathing lyrics of Nothing Like You, at first seem as if they’ll be pining for a lost love, yet the lines “There is nothing like someone new / and this girl she was nothing like you” make it clear that Hutchison has had a change of direction. New single Living in Colour, directly contrasts previous tracks like The Greys, and cements Frightened Rabbit’s emergence into “happiness and joy at the discovery of someone new.”

Frightened Rabbit is a band that embraces change. Having gained members along the way until their current line-up, their founding member is content with where they stand now: “We’re a proper band now, and instead of making changes at the moment, we need to work together as a band. It’s a tight unit and I don’t see ourselves adding to it anymore.”

Their success is set to continue throughout the summer as they join Snow Patrol in Glasgow this June, followed by Glastonbury, then T in the Park in July. Although Hutchison insists he hasn’t lost his dark touch, these songs are uplifting in that they acknowledge the dark times, and look toward better horizons with anthemic singles. To listen once will gain the fans that already find joy in Snow Patrol, but listening to Hutchison’s fighting spirit in his lyrics under the naivety is where the wealth lies in The Winter of Mixed Drinks.

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Sophie Gordon