September 30 — “Boxing Night” by Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Boxing Night” by Frightened Rabbit (2012, from the State Hospital EP).

Frightened Rabbit is a Scottish indie rock quintet who formed in 2003 and have released three studio albums with a fourth on the way. They just released an EP called State Hospital last week, and today’s song comes from it.

I wasn’t on board with Frightened Rabbit from the beginning. I only found out about them after the release of their majestic The Winter of Mixed Drinks in 2010. Everyone except Pitchfork loved that album. Eights and nines across the board. Except for Pitchfork, whose Rebecca Raber gave it a paltry 6.6. I, on the other hand, called it my second favorite non-Canadian album of 2010. That list, with the benefit of the passage of time and the tests that can be done on said passage, would be really different if written today. The Winter of Mixed Drinks would still be high on the list, but the order would be shuffled, some would be deleted and some “also ran” albums would be retroactively added to the main list.

For a while, there’s been some talk of a “new album”, but few if any details have emerged. Fortunately, the new EP was released last week. While it’s been met with mixed reviews, I really like it. I think a lot of the negative reviews are from people who are saying, essentially, “this isn’t the Frightened Rabbit who I used to know and love”. In my case, I didn’t know them before 2010, and I still haven’t heard the first two albums. So I don’t have that concern. I have the ability to take it for what it is without comparing it to the back catalog.

I’m short on time, so without further ado, I’ll just play the song.
“Boxing Night” by Frightened Rabbit

I’ve never thought this before, but on this song, especially at the very beginning, I’m reminded of The Arcade Fire. Even when Scott Hutchison starts in with his thick Scottish accent, it still sounds Arcade Fiery. And while people are sort of lukewarm to the song and the EP as a whole, and while Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen flat-out hates it, I’m convinced that if Arcade Fire wrote this song, people would be creaming in their skinny jeans over it. Even the lyrics are Arcade Fiery.

I am hostage blind, deaf to the din outside
Good Glasgow could burn to its timber tonight, I’d barely blink an eye
Well the clock just stopped, you can cut that into my headstone
Won’t something move so I stop staring a hole into the phone?

You can get me at home
With a drink to ill health
Just me and these walls
And a beaten up chair
On boxing day

Simply substitute “Montréal” for “Glasgow”, and you’ve got a fan-favorite non-album track from Funeral.

It’s a song, I think, about being in a really low place. Towards the end of the song, we learn that it’s not a general malaise. It’s brought on by heartbreak.

Well I fell in the fourth from a heavy right hook
To a blushed and swollen face
In a single blow it’s murdered and then it takes years to waste away

I can’t call you all mine anymore
I can’t call you, full stop
But you know you can call me up anytime
Call me whatever the fuck you want

You know I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. See: “Ragged Wood” by Fleet Foxes.

Anyway, you can get the State Hospital EP from the Frightened Rabbit web store here (US only) or here (EU).

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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