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Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks
March 1, 2010

This band from Scotland is back after a 3 year album drought. “The Winter of Mixed Drinks” is a little lighter, and one might even say more civil, than the band’s previous release. The increased accessibility and pop sensibility may open a window for Frightened Rabbit to reach out to a wider and more mainstream audience.

I am certain some fans will criticize this move, but I think it’s done quite well. Yes, the record is a little more polished and it’s not as rough around the edges, it doesn’t paint the same stark picture that we got used to while listening to “The Midnight Organ Fight”, but it still sounds most certainly like Frightened Rabbit.

And that some of the songs are a little more upbeat or anthemic, I think, sounds like a very natural progression or musical evolution of the band. They are maturing and coming into their own as a band. You can hear this progression in the single Swim Until You Can’t See Land, which would light up my radio like a Christmas tree, because it sounds enough like other bands from the UK to be picked up by that medium but at the same time it is way more original than the bulk of these alternative pop bands cranking out radio singles that start to sound like one another. Thankfully Frightened Rabbit hasn’t fell into that same traphole yet.

And the album continues with more nifty pieces of music like Skip The Youth, which is great in its contrast and intense build-up (the song’s finale is pretty epic), the brazen indie/folk on Not Miserable and splendid lyrical content on the upbeat rock & roll track Living In Colour.

“The Winter of Mixed Drinks” is a versatile album that shows a band in top form. Where Frightened Rabbit was a rough gem on their last album, they are now a fully polished diamond. I would certainly not be surprised if this album ends up in several year-end-lists. There is still some room for improvement as on a few songs you feel the band could just let go a little more, but overall this is a highly impressive record that, in a just world, would mean a definitive breakthrough for this quality band.

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