Label: FatCat Records Release date: 01/03/2010 Website: Selkirk’s finest Frightened Rabbit follow up the best album of 2008 ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ with The Winter Of Mixed Drinks. Having gained a passionate and devoted following with vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison’s honest tales of heartache and break-ups on both the previous record and debut ‘Sing The Greys’. But this time round he claims (or at least the wikipedia page does) that his life is “Quite solid and content, thankfully”. This may disappoint the macabre in us, but he does confirm that the album is a “semi-fictional” tale of a man’s breakdown and that another album describing how his life is at the present time would just not be very interesting. The two singles released prior to the album hint at a more positive outlook and more commercial sound, but will this affect what made the band so powerful? Opener ‘Things’ does well to show up those who thought the band were becoming too radio-friendly with a gradual and misshapen build up over feedback-led piano. “I never need these things” Scott proclaims before suggesting: “It’s just you I need”, showing that there is still loneliness and longing tugging at the back of his mind. Following on is the first single ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’, which is pleasant but not as commanding as we have come to expect from the now five-piece. Despite this perhaps ‘softer’ sound, it is surprising that death is a prominent theme throughout the eleven tracks, “A bedroom you’ve never been in, here’s a shovel, here’s the ground” are prominent lyrics on ‘Nothing Like You’ and after a one and a half minute intro, ‘Skip The Youth’ has “I’ve been digging a hole tonight” followed by the ominous “I need a place to sleep, a grave will have to do”. Although fortunately the feelings of anger and thoughts of revenge from the likes of ‘Good Arms Vs Bad Arms’ still resound, with 'The Wrestle’s: “My enemy, please stay close to me, no breath left” intertwined with some shot gun drums. The album flows well with short interludes throughout and ‘Man/Bag Of Sand’ is the perfect interval soundtrack with bursts of the chant “swim until you can’t see land”. Despite this, it all feels a little too one-paced and although there are no poor tracks, there just does not seem to be anything to match the standouts from ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. You just feel you are waiting for that one to really hit you and make the hairs on your back of the neck stand up. Also, it shouldn’t really matter but Scott must have been either told off by parents about his swearing or a swearbox was put in the studio as the cussing is conspicuous by it’s absence, despite the band being famed for their poetic use of the f and indeed c word. Possibly a slow grower, but after a few listens it just hasn’t grabbed like previous releases. Maybe the band need to get angry again. Photobucket What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!