Glasgow's Scott Hutchison, an art school grad who tired of drawing, picked up a guitar five years ago and hasn't looked back. His shambling, jangling indie pop with Frightened Rabbit recalls the sweet, guileless, ramshackle charm of '80s Scottish twee poppers The Vaselines and The Pastels. Steeped in fragile honesty, Hutchison's songs are an unyielding ache expressed with unusual frankness. Lamenting his ex-lover's departure on "Good Arms vs. Bad Arms," he sings, "Armed with the past, and the will, and a brick/I might not want you back, but I want to kill him."
The addition of keyboardist/guitarist Andy Monagahn helps the quartet produce an even richer sound than 2006's folk-pop-centric, Sing the Greys, as the bassless songs swell larger, overlaid with backing vocals to abet Hutchison's wavering, pain-besotted tenor. The manic energy and unrestrained emotion transform ballads into anxious, shout-along anthems fueled by insecurity, like the Wedding Present channeling Morrissey's self-doubt. And the live performances are somehow even better.