Take note, Mr Paltrow: this is how you do life-affirming
“I’m here/Not heroic/But I try”. It’s with those words – on ‘Acts Of Man’, the opening track from their fourth album and major-label debut – that Selkirk quintet Frightened Rabbit confront the folly of putting your faith in rock stars to save your soul. Coldplay might claim they can “fix you”, but the Rabbit offer a more humble and honest alternative to Chris and co’s aspirational stadium-indie. Their bloodily conflicted folk-rock is injected with an element of jeopardy, because frontman Scott Hutchison isn’t so sure he can be the man we need him to be – he can only promise to stick around and try his damnedest. Big but never bombastic, and gratifyingly free of empty emotions, the ensuing battle to be a better human being is played out over an ever-surging mass of bruised hope on songs like ‘Holy’. When redemption eventually arrives with the euphoria of ‘State Hospital’, accompanied by Hutchison’s cries of “All is not lost”, it feels earned. Take note, Mr Paltrow: this is how you do life-affirming.