A Frightened Rabbit EP

I’d been to some bad new albums for a whole day before playing this here (free!) EP, and within ten seconds the opener, “Scottish Winds” wiped the awful sound from my ears and replaced it with appreciation for good music and all the feels that it makes me feels, all while making me want to sing loudly and practice guitar.
Just three songs here, but they’re all mint, and hey, it’s free. The opener, which as I’ve already mentioned is called “Scottish Winds,” is your classic indie rock song – mega-hook of a riff, catchy melody, but fuck if it isn’t the bestest new riff/melody you’ve heard in weeks, and it’s about looking to one’s Scottishness for inspiration and strength – aww! And it’s not even about eating pizza crunch and getting rained on! Lots of good stuff here, including a completely, wonderfully gratuitous swipe at the fucking English. Damned if this song didn’t at first make me feel sorry for myself for being Canadian. I mean, we have the second biggest country in the world, and far more people than Scotland, or Finland, or Ireland, and they all totally have their own cultural identities, so what the eff? But it’s obvious enough if you think about it – we weren’t here for all of the European struggles with religion and Rome, then our greatest military triumphs were as protectorates (1812) or satellites (WW1) of the fucking English. By the time it was time to forge an identity we ruined our cities with suburbs and identified as only “not American,” and now all that joins us is ice hockey. It’s pretty pathetic – we barely even have accents – and in our greatest city, Toronto, we’re still fighting between extremes defined by other places – European liberalism and American conservative populism – there have been a few leaders – Trudeau, Chretien, Layton – who strove to make Canada a thing, but it didn’t catch except for 70s immigrants. Anyway, then this song made me happy to be Jewish – Jewish enough anyway – not because being Jews are inherently better than anyone else, but because it’s a hell of a cultural legacy to inherit. All of a sudden I have something in common with Leonard Cohen and Yitzhak Rabin and many more. It’s hard to write a song about being Canadian with anything other than a mash of satirical feelings because we have almost no past, only a present that we’re fucking up, and when we do anything right it’s a bit shocking. But being Jewish is a nice box to check, even if I’m a sad Canadian in my heart.
Oh hi, there’s two other songs here, and they’re also both good! “Fuck This Place” is a Stars-y slow-building ode to drinking a night away in a shitty town (though they’d never title a song “Fuck This Place”), and “The Work” is an acoustic, melancholy tune about getting older and retiring. And both are memorable! And both are duets, the latter with some really Scottish guy, and the first with a silky-sounding Scottish lady.
A small release, but three great little songs – and they’re all about interesting things! See, still lots of things to write songs about! And none of them are whiny or solipsistic – FR have never seemed like big privileged Holden Caulfield assholes, and this is a positive.

9 / 10


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