"State Hospital"—the title track of an EP due out September 25—marks the first release from the band since signing to mega-label Atlantic Records. Its big, widescreen sound seems to be a continuation of where the band left off with 2010's The Winter of Mixed Drinks (the splendid, stripped-down A Frightened Rabbit EP from last year seems to have been an aberration). A couple cursory listens haven't revealed too much to sink my teeth into, yet, although Scott Hutchinson seems to be playing up that incredible Scottish burr, perhaps as a result of working with traditional Scottish folksinger Archie Fisher last year. Hutchinson's gaze, historically inward and scathing (as on Frightened Rabbit's 2008 masterpiece, The Midnight Organ Fight), seems to be directed outward here, with noticeably more optimism and compassion for the song's protagonist than he usually allows for himself.
Frightened Rabbit are doing a quick US tour in support of the EP (a full-length album, on which "State Hospital" will also appear, is due out next year). They'll be doing two Pacific Northwest dates, although neither in Portland: Tuesday, October 16 at Neumo's in Seattle, and Wednesday, October 17 at the WOW Hall in Eugene.
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