Frightened Rabbit are back in London in December as part of their winter tour, following a busy summer at festivals like Glastonbury, T In The Park, and Latitude.
The Scottish quintet – who have just released their fifth album, ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ – play Roundhouse on 7 December 2016.
“It’s a privilege to do what we do, we won’t take it for granted and promise to pour blood, sweat and craft beers into each and every performance,” they said of the late-2016 shows.
The band’s first album since 2013’s ‘Pedestrian Verse’, began taking shape in the summer of 2014, when frontman Scott Hutchison, drummer Grant Hutchison, bassist Billy Kennedy, guitarist/keyboardist Andy Monaghan, and multi-instrumentalist Simon Liddell began demoing ideas in Wales.
“We started as though we were making an instrumental album,” explains Hutchison, who then returned to his new home in Los Angeles to work on the lyrics.
“I don’t usually get homesick, but I’d never gone so far from home for such a long period of time before,” says the singer-songwriter, who’d recently moved from Glasgow to California. “I was circling what could be a central idea for this record – this sense of not really being sure why I was in LA. But I was still avoiding admitting that that was how I felt,” he explains.
Some initial feedback from his brother, Grant, led Hutchison to embrace his situation.
“I was avoiding writing about the stuff that actually matters to me and the things that were going on with me at the time. I was fictionalising a bit too much. And after that conversation, a lot of things came into focus.”
The result? Songs like ‘I Wish I Was Sober’.
“It’s a lonely song,” reveals Hutchison. “There’s a lot of that on this record, because I was really lonely in LA. And I think that’s what ‘I Wish I Was Sober’ came to represent: that desperate point where you’re like: ‘I have had too much and I don’t have anyone to lean on.’”
As the songs continued to take shape, Hutchison approached The National’s Aaron Dessner with an eye on collaborating.
“Great songwriters touch a nerve, and I think Scott really touches a nerve with these songs,” says Dessner, a long-time fan of the band. “To me, lyrically, this album is a step above anything he’s written before.”
Dessner wound up producing ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ at his studio in Brooklyn last August.
“Before this,” says Hutchison, “we’d never actually worked with a producer who had such a distinct awareness of our catalogue and where we’d been as a band. And Aaron was very mindful of that – what we had done in the past and where we needed to go with this album to take us creatively forward.”
Collectively, band and producer realised they should focus on the songs with the most emotional immediacy.
“I think people who are fans of our band come to us for a sense of belonging,” notes Hutchison. “I know that’s not unique to us, but I really do believe that our music can come to a person at a pivotal point in their life and that we can become this place to consider where you are in the world.”