Honest, provoking and downright uplifting. Frightened Rabbit have found a direct path from the part of the neural subsystem which processes music to the part in control of your emotional reactions with their new album Painting of a Panic Attack.
The most impressive thing about this album is how they’ve managed to make everything sound so complex and simple at the same time. Every note in the right place, yet they feel so natural you’d argue that they couldn’t have been manufactured. Arranging songs that drift in and out of the surreal, Frightened Rabbit have harnessed the trippy, hallucinogenic powers of LSD in the format of sound and every track on this album has you feeling like you’re being carried by the soft air beneath you.
The album is opened up with ‘Death Dream’. The combination of piano and vocal harmony is haunting, helping to depict the scene described in thoughtful and provoking lyrics. The tone is set with this beautiful portrayal of a very sad subject – Scott Hutchison’s delivery only adding to the serenity.
Lifting us up from the floor and keeping the waves of emotion lapping the shores of our frontal lobe we are thrust into ‘Get Out’ and in quick succession another subtle blinder ‘I Wish I Was Sober’ – something of a coming-of-age song at its root and almost anthemic in its execution. A general theme flowing through the following tracks until the gritty tension finally breaks with – funnily enough – ‘Break’. Treating us to the first sign of distortion and with a catchy chorus I’ve found myself humming and bobbing along with, to the annoyance of my colleagues.
Other highlight tracks are lo-fi ‘Wait ‘Til the Morning’, stripping things back to the bone and the acoustic ‘Die Like a Rich Boy’ which is a little more positive than its title may suggest. Possibly my personal favourite ‘Woke Up Hurting’ has a dance feel to it and points toward a genre that the likes of CHVRCHES and – to an extent – Prides have made their own. It’s welcome respite from a tense opening which offers a lighter shade to a rather dark album.
Painting of a Panic Attack is a piece of musical art which takes you on a journey through a range of emotions, leaving you feeling oddly satisfied. I feel safe to say the multi-instrumentalist quintet from Selkirk have raised the bar so high with this album that it may be found orbiting Earth.