Frightened Rabbit Pedestrian Verse (10th Anniversary Edition)

Atlantic Records
17th March 2023

Format Info

RSD Blue/Black Marble 2LP
Standard Clear 2LP

Back in August last year, I wrote a piece about Frightened Rabbit’s staggering debut, Midnight Organ Fight. A few of you got back to us saying you had never heard the record but felt compelled to after reading and, well, that’s all a person-who-has-found-themselves-writing-about-their-favourite music-for-a-living could ask for. So, if it’s ok with you, I’d like to do the same with their fourth studio album, Pedestrian Verse. Now in its tenth year, it’s being reissued on Blue/Black Marble 2LP and Clear 2LP with eleven additional tracks, alongside 7” reissues of the key singles from that era.

The first studio album of theirs to be released on a major label (Atlantic), Pedestrian Verse marked a place in the band’s history where the only place to go was up. From the outside looking in, there was an enormous sense of pride and joy to witness a dream coming to realisation. A chance for the rest of the world to experience the honest, pure songwriting that Frightened Rabbit were so good at. Showcasing some of the strongest and most mature songwriting of Scott Hutchison, it was also a chance for the band to come together and write collaboratively, as shown by the precise ecstasy of the production and the big, but never bombastic, anthems that followed them through the forthcoming worldwide tours.

Littered with giant-sized choruses and twangy riffs, it’s fair to say that Pedestrian Verse was a new level for the band in terms of production and budget, but not because of the major-label aspect. It wasn’t about reaching the rafters or adding booming claps to random verses that would fit into stadiums – they were still Frightened Rabbit; the very best at up-beat riffs and chest-stirring drums layered with the most devastating lyrics a human could muster.

Any record that starts with a line as evocative and self-effacing as “I am that dickhead in the kitchen, giving wine to your best girl’s glass” is sure to be a gut-puncher, and that’s where Acts Of Man takes us by the hand and sprints. Beginning with a striking piano chord, paired with gentle harmonies and a delicate voice taking on a litany of paradoxical bad-guy characters, a rousing drum beat and jangly guitars creep in to create a map, roads for the album to go down. Is this another ‘break-up album’? Is it an anecdote of the reprehensible way people can treat others? Of course, this is about the humanity of relationships – it’s an FR album after all. But its sophisticated story-telling; the honest admissions of human fuck-ups; the ensuing battle to be a better person, there’s no way you can mark it under the limiting ‘break-up album’ label. It’s a carefully crafted, honest piece in time.

Backyard Skulls, an insight into a relationship with secrets that are ‘smothered in dirt, underneath paving stones’ and ‘ancient encounters with foreign skin’ brings along big drums and synth elements that are reminiscent of modern-day The NationalHoly leads with a killer bass-line from Billy Kennedy and a time signature that would get anyone nodding and tapping, alongside the juxtaposition of words about loneliness with a wee touch of nihilism. A perfect example of the crashing crescendos they were so good at.

The Woodpile and Late March, Death March, both becoming singles at some point in the album campaign (and available below as 7” reissues), were, again, a perfect summation of how well the band adapted to the ‘next level’, whilst still keeping their roots of fuzzy harmonies and buoyant guitar tones from the one and only Andy MonaghanDecember’s Traditions is a personal favourite, with its discordance and the swelling of guitars fighting alongside the rush of drums. Grant Hutchison is truly a master at stylistic drum textures. And then there’s State Hospital, which is the greatest treatment of storytelling you’ll probably ever hear in 4-and-a-half minute song. No hyperbole, and probably all I need to say on that without diluting its magic.

Much like the rest of their discography, a lot of the lyrics have become symbols of bruised hope for listeners and fans all over the world after the loss of Scott. A certain line from the closing track, The Oil Slick, has been tattooed, graffitied, emblazoned on art prints and clothes in its masses as a way of remembering that, amongst the grief and the loss and the heartbreak: “there’s still hope so I think we’ll be fine, in these disastrous times”. He left us far, far too soon – but he left us with those reminders, and it’s a magical thing that people can continue to listen to those for decades to come.

Happy ten years to a piece of music history.

Lola / Monorail

Clear Standard LP

Disc 1 is pressed on clear vinyl and disc 2 is pressed on black vinyl.

RSD Blue/Black Marble LP

Disc 1 is pressed on blue marble vinyl and disc 2 is pressed on black vinyl.

The records are housed in a gatefold outer sleeve with a gold foiled motif on the front cover and printed inner sleeves containing album lyrics.

Side A
1 Acts of Man
2 Backyard Skulls
3 Holy
4 The Woodpile
5 Late March, Death March
6 December’s Traditions

Side B
7 Housing (In)
8 Dead Now
9 State Hospital
10 Nitrous Gas
11 Housing (Out)
12 The Oil Slick

Side C
13 If You Were Me
14 Snow Still Melting
15 Escape Route
16 Default Blues
17 Radio Silence

Side D
18 Candlelit
19 Architect
20 Norland Wind
21 Holy (Alternate Version)
22 The Woodpile (Alternate Version)
23 Late March, Death March (Alternate

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