By Craig Williams @glasgowmixtape
SCOTLAND’s finest exporters of woolly jumper-wearing indie rock, Frightened Rabbit, are back after a two-year hiatus.
Here to clothe us with their signature brand of charming and spirited anthems, which are sure to keep us the right mixture of warm, fuzzy and emotionally delicate.
With April’s release of their fifth studio album Painting Of A Panic Attack fast approaching, the band are currently knuckled down in a Glasgow studio to rehearse for their short three-date UK tour, and mammoth 29-dates in North America.
Newest addition to the band, Simon Liddell, took a bit of time out of their schedule to talk to the Glasgow Gazette about the new album.
He explains what it’s like to graduate from guitar techie to fully formed Frabbit member after the departure of Gordon Skeene.
“It’s amazing,” said Liddell. “I had already been playing [with Frightened Rabbit] as a live musician for a few years, the first show being us playing woodpile on BBC Hogmanay a few years ago with Jackie Bird.
“I always felt like part of the group on a personal level. It was always an inclusive thing and it has always been that way so that made it creatively so easy to slot in.”
Whether subconsciously or not, Simon’s presence as part of the 5-piece seems to have engineered a change in direction of the band.
They now pursue a sound which sees them expand on their existing, guitar-based identity to experimenting with a broader range of musical influences.
“There is probably a bit of a dip in the tone, a more electronic approach,” said Liddell. “It’s not by any means a dance record, there’s just a few more textures in there that would take it a wee bit further away from the normal.”
This ties in with the unquestionable influence that Owl John, the solo moniker and album released by Frabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, had on the new material.
Liddell himself was heavily involved with Owl John prior to the recording Paintings Of A Panic Attack.
“I think the touring schedule [for last album Pedestrian Verse] had hit everyone pretty hard so for Scott it was like, I think it was a really positive thing for him,” Liddell said.
“He took all the pressure out of the creative process and it was brilliant.”
Interestingly, although Paintings Of A Panic Attack took the best part of a year-and-a-half to write and record, they started thinking about it as soon as they played what was their last show, at Laneways Festival in Australia back in February of 2014.
“The first writing session happened straight away after the festival,” said Liddell. “We got in a van after the festival and went straight to the studio and got started.”
At that point Hutchison didn’t have anything, Liddell reveals. Lump St, I Wish I Was Sober and 400 Bones were all born in that initial session.
And with Simon keen to get out on tour with the band both at home and abroad in support of the new album, he let slip of a certain (secret) warm up event that has since been sold out to those in the know.
“On Tuesday night you should make an effort to go see The Footshooters at Glasgow School of Art,” he said, with a wry smile.
For those well versed in the band’s material, Footshooter is a song off their album The Midnight Organ Fight.