Controversial isn’t the first word evoked by the grandiose folk-rock of Scottish rising stars Frightened Rabbit, who play Seattle’s Showbox on Friday.
Last year, however, bandleader Scott Hutchison ruffled feathers with a tweet in which he said, of music, “I can take it or leave it.”
The singer-songwriter-guitarist insists his remark was misread.
“I was making a joke about bands who put ‘music lover’ in their bio,” Hutchison, 32, explains via telephone from a tour stop in Newcastle, England. “As musicians, do we really need to express that? My entire life revolves around music, and has for years.”
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Perhaps the negative response reflected concerns that Frightened Rabbit had peaked early. After breaking through with 2008’s eloquently downhearted “Midnight Organ Fight,” the quintet stumbled with 2010’s “Winter of Mixed Drinks.”
Admitting “writing and arranging in solitude was no longer yielding thrilling results,” Hutchison enlisted his bandmates to help with the songwriting process.
The collaborative approach worked. Folk in spirit yet decidedly rock in execution, brand-new LP “Pedestrian Verse” is the sound of a revitalized band trusting its instincts. Its dozen dynamic, uplifting and very pretty songs radiate vivid pastoral imagery and triumphant choruses tailor-made for the live setting.
Of his world-weary lyricism and trademark thick-accented vocals, Hutchison calls his Scottish identity “absolutely intrinsic in everything I do. I take a lot from writers like [Arab Strap’s] Aidan Moffat and [Belle and Sebastian’s] Stuart Murdoch. There’s a balance of self-doubt, humor, misery and hope that’s quite unique to Scottish music and lyricists.” (The Twilight Sad, also from Glasgow, open Friday’s show.)
For the record, Frightened Rabbit won’t be leaving anytime soon.
“As opposed to a lot of bands who are winding down by album number four,” Hutchison says, “I feel we’re at the start of something new. There’s still exploration to be done.”
Charlie Zaillian: firstname.lastname@example.org