“You’ll be grateful to know the new Frightened Rabbit record has a song about drinking on it, so you’ll feel at home,” explains Scott Hutchison as the band launch into ‘I Wish I Was Sober’. Somber and heartbreaking, the track sees the band at their reflective best before a whirl of gnarled electronics and a fleeting choir see the band take the their signature in sorrow somewhere else.
The track is aired halfway through tonight’s set that sees Frightened Rabbit take to London’s Boston Music Rooms under the pseudonym FOOTSHOOTERS for their second show in as many years. It’s the longest they’ve been away but, armed with the home discomforts of ‘Holy’, ‘Living In Colour’ and ‘Heads Roll Off’, the band quickly announce their return. However, they’re not trading on past glories.
Sure, the gentle chimes and slow building grace of ‘Modern Leper’ and the sideswipe of ‘The Woodpile’ are as grandiose and poignant as ever but tonight isn’t merely an excuse to dust off the cobwebs. There’s a new album ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ out in four weeks and Frightened Rabbit are keen to show it off. From the opening heartbeat of ‘Get Out’, through the pounding intensity of ‘Woke Up Hurting’ and into the sparse landscape of ‘Break’, it’s easy to see why. Instead of hurried ascent and anthemic free-fall, the new Frightened Rabbit material finds satisfaction in the journey. Every minute matters and the band take joy in making them all count. A solo rendition of ‘Die Like A Rich Boy’ is captivating and frank, silencing the boisterous confidence of the crowd with simple melody and wistful lyrics while ‘Lump Street’ is a noisy, swaggering beast. Moody and ominous, it sees Scott battling with the heavy delicacy of the instrumentation to be heard as Frightened Rabbit push things forward.
Frabbit are back but they’re not the same band that headlined Brixton Academy last time they were in the capital. Re-energised and finding space in tension, ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ looks set to start them on a new path and tonight is the perfect balance of familiarity and exploration. Honey, they’re home.