Hey, “man” get a load of these high jinks: a funny idea if you were a bartender (it would help if you didn’t much care about your job) would be to discriminate against one racial group every night. But you’d mix it up, so nobody could ever put their finger on what you were on about. The first night whenever a black person would order a drink you’d just stare at them and snicker, then look around, then only serve them if there’s nobody else at the bar waiting. Then he’d think you were racist, and the next night he’d bring his friends to show them how you deserve an ass kicking, and bam! You serve them politely and promptly, leaving the first guy wondering if maybe he was imagining things the last time! But unbeknowest to him, you’d be discriminating against Asians that night! Of course, since most of the clientele would be white (presuming), you’d have to split white people into the constituent parts of that category. And then, of course, you might have trouble telling who’s, say, Polish, so you’d have to eyeball it. Then when your boss comes to you and says “why the hell aren’t you serving those two guys?” You could say, “I don’t know, he looks Polish, don’t he?” Then you’d all have a laugh, and maybe someday you’d win the lottery.
Now the Frightened Rabbits from the Selkirk neighbourhood of Glasgow are back, and they’ve added a keyboardist to fill out the sound and made a break-up album! And not just any break-up album, but an unpretentious, normal person break-up album! “Wait, what?” You say while planning your discrimination schedule, “wait, what?”
Yes, this album is entirely about a girl, but shockingly, it features no extended metaphors, no mentions of tears, and a narrator who at times is relieved it’s over, and certainly has no difficulty going to clubs and fucking someone new, even if he quickly realizes the latter is empty and everything is pretty sad. And really, isn’t that how we spend most of our time post-coupledom? Not everybody takes every sad relationship ending as a life-threatening emotional disability. We can be unhappy without gazing at our navels all the time.
So we’ve got a nice main subject, an array of topics, and a singer who’s Scottish accent make everything sound good, how does it all do? The answer is that it’s fab, you luss! They’re still a standard line-up, but they do everything they want to so well! Lone love song “The Modern Leper” is an original take on self-loathing and touchingly affectionate in one, “Old Old Fashioned” is cute like it tries to be, slow builders “Keep Yourself Warm” and “Poke” carry the oomph they were meant to, and “it’s over” song “Floating in the Forth” is a winning only actively sad song on an album where all the songs are somewhat sad. Plus, have I mentioned the Scottish accent enough? Ye gads, it totally makes “Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms” in addition to helping out every song. Special mention goes to “The Twist,” a song about dancing with girls with bangs that’d be the pride of any indie dance cave’s playlist, just not Dance Cave (because it’s actually good), and super catchy “I Feel Better,” which features a chorus of “this is the last song I’ll sing about you,” nicely situated as track two on a gosh darned break-up album. But there’s a sort of nice message in that, don’t you think?
There are no bad songs, just a few that aren’t quite as catchy and heartfilling (nothing here warms the heart, but everything gives it something to talk about). Inexplicable singles “Fast Blood” and “Head Rolls Off” come to mind, but those aren’t bad songs. “My Backwards Walk” might be, featuring one of the few bad lines on the album (“you’re the shit and I’m knee deep in it”…ewwww), and yes, there are two short instrumentals that trick you into thinking there are more songs than there are, but come on! It’s a whole album with zero actively bad songs on it, and it’s so mature, kinda edgy, and likable you want to invite everybody over for drinks.
By the by, you know what phrase everyone hates? This one: “plenty of fish in the sea!” Yes, there are, in fact, plenty of members of the opposite sex that one could be attached to. That’s not why they’re sad! They’re sad because they miss one particular person, not because they’re concerned that they’ll never have no one ever again. Some people spout platitudes so they can think of themselves as “supportive,” when in fact they’re annoying, unhelpful, and themselves less lovable for it.