Ryan Butcher: Frightened Rabbit finally step into the spotlights
William Shakespeare once wrote that some men are born great, while others have greatness thrust upon them. Frightened Rabbit are a little bit of both.
For more than six years, this wee Scottish band of twee folk-rockers have built an almost cult-like following, artfully marrying wistful melody with poetic, yet sometimes brash, imagery.
Frontman and lyricist Scott Hutchinson is the collective voice of everyone who has ever loved, lost, loved again and then gone home to listen to a Smiths album.
But two and a bit years ago, something unexpected happened.
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Frightened Rabbit signed to a major label.
Yes, in 2010, they put pen to paper and became part of the Atlantic Records family, proving their fan base was made up of more than just sexually-frustrated 20-somethings.
What followed was the band's fourth album, the sublime Pedestrian Verse, which hit the shelves a couple of weeks ago and is just as good an introduction as any if you're discovering Frightened Rabbit for the first time.
And when it comes to being out on the road, it means that the band's shows are much more, well, professional.
Their triumphant return to Nottingham's Rescue Rooms on Thursday, February 21, is testament to this. I think it can be best summed up by a chap in the crowd next to me's simplistically on-the-nose comments: "They can afford lights and that now."
The new material sounds sleeker too. Opening track Holes is a fast-paced tapestry of layered guitars and soaring soundscapes, while Acts of Man is more of Hutchinson's peppered imagery of forlorn losers in love with axes to grind.
Not only that, but old favourites like The Modern Leper and Old, Old Fashioned sound more polished and pronounced than ever.
Signing to a major label can more often than not be the death toll for modern-day indie darlings.
But you'll be reassured to know Frightened Rabbit haven't lost the charm that made them so beloved in the first place.
So many bands before them have fallen by the wayside after signing to majors, hunted like rabbits, if you will, by corporate executives who wanted to mess with a formula which didn't need fixing.
But for Frightened Rabbit, this seems to be only just the beginning. Again.