Who doesn’t love a good Scottish brogue?
Frightened Rabbit is a talented indie group from Glasgow that offers a charming accent paired with excellent lyrics and beautiful melodies.
There is a certain poetry to their newest album, “The Winter of Mixed Drinks,” as if the group is a reincarnation of Robert Burns himself.
As a whole, the disc is graced with lilts of Scottish influences and, at times, haunting melodies.
Scott Hutchinson, the lyricist and lead singer, admitted the album would have a heavy theme of melancholy and sadness to it. The first three songs in particular portray this notion quite readily.
For instance, “The Loneliness and the Scream” plays off of the old “If a tree falls in a forest” adage. The singer feels that no one can hear his scream and that he is all alone after a relationship has ended. The track title alone says it all.
The album opener “Things” also adds to this subdued sentiment.
The extraneous items and “pointless artifacts from a mediocre past” in a relationship don’t really matter at all in the end. It is the relationship itself that warrants the most value, and the “Never going back” to it that hurts the most.
In the same vein, “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” is probably the best song on the album. Hutchinson again compares the tough nature of moving on from an ended relationship to swimming until you cannot see the place you set out from.
The verse “Let’s call me a Baptist, call this the drowning of the past/ She’s there at the shoreline throwing stones at my back” really sums up the song’s meaning: the past is there to pester you, but you have to summon the chutzpah to press on.
The song’s repetitive line “Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?” really drives that point home—move on or sink.
However, at a mid-album reprise—“Man/Bag of Sand,” a lyrical recall of “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”—the tone of the songs starts to pick up. “Nothing Like You” and “Living in Colour” both embody the act of moving on after a broken relationship.
It is as if the album is a mini-narrative in itself where one is mired in the depths of loneliness and angst but finds the resolve to move forward and put the past behind.
It is really stunning how Frightened Rabbit can capture these complex emotions and tangibly craft them into one congruous musical work.
In the end, “The Winter of Mixed Drinks” is pure poetry set to music. With no real weak spots to speak of, you won’t be sorry you listened.