Now before listening to this album, people looking for more heartbreak and sadness to relate to their own failed relationship should realise this is the wrong place to look. Why? Because Frightened Rabbit seem to be, well, happier. Scott Hutchison’s broken heart seems to have healed with time and as a result the songs have a more upbeat feel than those on The Midnight Organ Fight. This new found optimism seems to have brought with it a brand new array of guitar effects and a willingness to experiment with grander sounds than anything heard by FR previously. String arrangements can be heard, in a more Andrew Bird way than Last Shadow Puppets, as can more shoegazey sounds, ones which wouldn’t sound out of place on a record by fellow Scots, The Jesus and Mary Chain. Where on The Midnight Organ Fight the onus was on front man Hutchison to create the majority of interest vocally, he is eloquently backed by his harmonious band mates this time around, which helps to create some beautiful, soaring vocal melodies. The album still sounds like a FR record, just a slightly braver direction.
Perhaps the biggest departure from their renown soundscapes is second single, ‘Nothing Like You’. It’s more breakneck than anything they’ve done before but still as swimmingly catchy. Lastly, it should be noted that even though FR sound much more nonchalant, their high spirits are still a very sombre affair for the majority of people. But with lyrics like, “she’s there on the shoreline, throwing stones at my back” on the albums lead single ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’, it suggests they are now looking through rose-tinted glasses but still remembering the ghosts of the past. It sure makes for a breathtaking third album.
The Winter Of Mixed Drinks is out 1/3/10 on Fat Cat Records.