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Frightened Rabbit goes for a “Swim”

October 23, 2009

Frightened Rabbit
“Swim Until You Can’t See Land”

Rating: 7.5/10

Midnight Organ Fight was my favorite album of 2008. I won’t rehash that; it’s been documented here. But after some critical thinking, I don’t know that I want just a second coming of that album.

Personally, I would think that lead singer Sam Hutchison wouldn’t want that either.

There are so many emotions, and so much intensity behind those lyrics, that I believe it would be impossible to recapture. Not to mention, unnecessary. Which means, there is a lot of pressure on the next move that Frightened Rabbit make.

The first single from their as-of-yet untitled album, due out in spring 2010, “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” isn’t MOF part two, and it is really setting the stage for something all new.

Hutchison explained that most of their next album was written on the East Coast of Scotland, and the ocean is a recurring theme within their new songs.

The song has a cool, breezy disposition to it that perfectly matches the nautical theme. It’s by no means a traditional folk song or a sea-shanty, but the reverb-drenched tones and bouncy rhythms just sound like the ocean.

It opens with a wave of delayed, muted strums, which combine to form a wave of sound. The song slowly swells to more epic proportions, building on the pretty guitar hook and simple drumbeats. The song rises to a crescendo with label mate Hauschka’s contribution of devastatingly beautiful string arrangements.

The emotional baggage of MOF is shed right away with “Swim,” and immediately replaced with equally heavy sentiment. This is never more obvious than when Hutchison sings, “Let’s call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past.”

“Swim until you can’t see land” turns into Hutchison’s refrain, and his demand to get away from the past is an epic foreshadow into what Frightened Rabbit’s next LP has in store.

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