Frightened Rabbit – State Hospital EP

Well, it’s my last night alone in my shared condo before I move in with my girlfriend, so I’m sitting here wearing an unzipped sweater, with my belly just kinda hanging out. It’s awful and I wish I was different. Let’s talk about this little EP.
FR’s last EP was pretty goddamned good – all pathos and Scottish accents and catchy songs. This one has too many damned slow songs. If this is a lead single then I fear for the future. The title track feels like the 90s, all slow, real drums and a melody that’ll stick with you if you pay attention, and hey, it’s about poverty, which is a heck of a topic to pull off for a band that’s best at writing breakup songs. It’s not much of a single, but it’s a solid song, and genuinely evocative. Shit, it’s like a sweet, Scottish Tracy Chapman song, kinda. But all Death Cabbed up, naturally.
But you don’t have to go far to find a breakup song, because “Boxing Night” is back to spending the holidays getting drunk again, and you just know that’ll make me love, and it’s catchy and mostly acoustic, too! Sounds emo, but the matter-of-factness and sarcastic drawling of “call me whenever the fuck you want” save it by a longshot, if you aren’t familiar with FR.
Sadly, the next three songs are definite B-side fodder, and I’m too tired to be articulate about them. They’re all kinda boring, but then a line about a chain-smoking factory reminds me that, really, this is a special little band. They display all the signs of a being a regular nonsense indie band, but the brogue combines with an ability to articulate things that interesting people feel, married to catchy-ass hooks, and without knowing them I’d say they sound like the best normal band ever.
But, man, this is the lead single? An excellent but album trackish title track, a great B-side, and three throwaways? They could’ve at least thrown in who gives a fuck.

6 / 10


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