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Frightened Rabbit are no rookies when it comes to the WERS studio. The Scottish indie rock band have visited our station before, but this time they brought along songs from their newest release, State Hospital EP.
“There’s an energy to the new stuff that is quite unique to those songs,” said frontman Scott Hutchison about the new EP. “[Playing it live] is the most honest reaction you can get. Your friends are going to tell you it’s great anyway, yeah? But the crowd reaction — that’s been strong.”
After rolling up our carpet floor to have wood paneling beneath their feet, Frightened Rabbit laughed to each other and began playing the title-track. What started out with quiet guitars quickly built towards a chorus that raised hairs once Gordon Skene sang his soft backing vocals. Hutchison then started tapping the floor and shaking as he sang with that staple emotion Frightened Rabbit fans all love.
They make it look easy, but it’s far from being just that. “There’s this conception that being in a band is a 24-hour party; It’s more like a 90 minute party,” Hutchison laughed. “It’s a lot of work.” That’s because they’re a band that goes above and beyond with their performances. Live shows often feature former songs revisited to take on completely new tones (think “My Backwards Walk” played with the happiness of The Beatles’ “Good Day Sunshine”).
The State Hospital EP was recorded in the north of Scotland in a fairly remote village. “I’m always affected by where we’re working. There’s a bit of that claustrophobia to some of the songs – it’s quite dark,” said Hutchison. “Everyone is contributing to the music now as well.. It was exciting to be throwing ideas around in a house for a month.” He attributed this to the members feeling like they couldn’t “step on any toes” before but now feel like they have their place in the band. “It just feels much fresher doing it this way.”
Frightened Rabbit are in the process of finishing up a new record which has several songs that didn’t fit on the State Hospital EP. For those of you hoping the new album will have songs similar to those on 2008′s The Midnight Organ Fight , you may get one or two. “While we were touring [The Midnight Organ Fight] I thought, ‘Oh man, I may have revealed too much here.’ Nobody knew about the band until we put that out, and as soon as you have an audience you’re like, ‘I don’t want to say that much about my life again!’” Hutchison shook his head with a laugh. “A new album is always a reaction to what you think you did wrong in the last one… I have gone back to some of the Organ Fight intensity though, lyrics-wise.”
So to finish off their set, Frightened Rabbit played “Scottish Winds” from their 2011 Frightened Rabbit EP. As a middle point between these two sounds,”Scottish Winds” served as a nice reminder of what makes Frightened Rabbit so uplifting, subtle, and rich — their music.
For those of you who caught Frightened Rabbit’s performance this past Saturday night, there was a reason they seemed so glad to be back . “Revelations are rare, but — I’m not just kidding here — often the best shows we play are at the Paradise in Boston. You get to a certain level… and the good nights have to be way up there, but here, they’re totally way off the scale. Maybe people are just drunk,” he laughed. “It’s nice those things don’t happen very often, because when they do, it’s a speechless moment.”