The Winter of Mixed Drinks
Misery loves company, and no one knows better than Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit. The Scottish act’s 2007 sophomore album, Midnight Organ Fight, was inspired by a break-up, fuelling a minor symphony of catharsis, regret and Hutchison’s gruff baritone. Though it was a downer, it leapt onto best-of-the-year lists like a hobos on a freight train, and rightfully so.
Eschewing the aural shortcuts that time constraints imposed on Midnight Organ Fight, Hutchison increased the band from four to five members and spent more time in the studio for The Winter of Mixed Drinks. But tinkering with the formula yields similar results: this second album is a grand success.
It’s not all change, though – while he might try, Hutchison can’t stray from dark territory. ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’, an ode to being alone, precedes the self-explanatory ‘The Loneliness and the Scream.’
This batch of gut-punchy songs builds with deep bass and hefty acoustic hooks, before typically devolving into revelry – tub-thumping kick drum, hand claps and melodic bar-room chanting. Meanwhile, Hutchison’s burr remains the band’s greatest asset, lighting up each melancholy track. Misery can be a beautiful thing.
Available now online.