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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Frightened Rabbit’s “Painting of Panic Attack” takes on life’s rough patches

    Frightened+Rabbit+performing+Twist+%26+Shout+on+May+12%2C+2010.
    Julio Enriquez (CC BY 2.0)
    Frightened Rabbit performing Twist & Shout on May 12, 2010.

    “I want to die like a rich boy, diving in a hydrocodone dream,” sings Scott Hutchison, the smoky-voiced frontman for Frightened Rabbit.

    Painting of a Panic Attack is Frightened Rabbit’s fifth album and is a cathartic retelling of Hutchison’s drug abuse, depression and ultimate reconciliation with grace.

    The album focuses on Hutchison’s tormented internal dialogue. Lyrical themes of sobriety, slums, depression and optimism are found throughout.

    “Junk fiends dance at the bus stop next to the rodeo clowns, … but I still want to be here,” sings Hutchison in “Still Want to be Here”, reflecting on the neighborhood surrounding his home.

    Lyrics such as these stand in sharp contrast with the musical aspects of the album.

    Almost every song is founded upon lively — borderline dancy — ambient instrumentals and simple, grounding drum beats. Combined with Hutchison’s generally melancholy lyrics, Painting of a Panic Attack explores the dark side of being alive without being too dramatic. The album occasionally abandons its dream-like environment to return to Hutchison’s elegant, folk-like songwriting.

    “Die Like A Rich Boy” illustrates this perfectly. The track opens with happy, melodic finger picking on an acoustic guitar and is soon accompanied by Hutchison’s raspy but energetic voice.

    “I need to find somebody who can tear me away from the car crime babies and switchblade days,” Hutchison sings.

    The album was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, which may explain its captivating, dream-like quality. Dessner also produced This is the Kit’s album, Bashed Out, which won BBC Radio 6 Music 2015 Album of the Year, and all of the albums put out by The National.

    Snippets of originality are evident in nearly every aspect of the album; from the relatable, somberly optimistic lyrics of “Still Want to be Here” to the grounding harmonies found on “An Otherwise Disappointing Life.” Every song on Painting of a Panic Attack provides a unique landscape worth exploring.

    Painting of a Panic Attack is captivating the whole way through. I found myself listening to a few songs multiple times over throughout the day. Every listen provides it’s own unique insight.

    So dim the lights, crank the air conditioner down, pour some red wine and let Painting of a Panic Attack take over. This album is a solid “B+.”

    Frightened Rabbit is currently prepping to begin its first U.S. tour in three years. They’ll be stopping at The Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix on April 20. 


    Follow Jonathan Terry on Twitter.


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