The Winter of Mixed Drinks could have been called The Release of Mixed Reviews. It seems some people (or critics) are not too sure what to think of this third release by the very, very Scottish band, Frightened Rabbit.
It’s always hard when one of your favorite bands release a new album and you have to listen to it for the first time. You have so many expectations and somehow the album is never going to live up to them. Especially when the last release, The Midnight Organ Fight, was so amazing.
But Mixed Drinks does not disappoint. It is a strong release by a strong band. The album kicks off with Things, a track where Scott Hutchison sounds like he’s matured a bit since the last album as he sings ‘And the dust, it settles on these things displays my age again…I didn’t need these things I didn’t need them, oh’. It’s your typical Frightened Rabbit song; it’s dark and heavy but it’s also a sing-along.
The album picks up from there a little. It goes into the single that’s been out for some time, Swim Until You Can’t See Land, where Hutchinson repeats the title over and over while the band picks up the ohhhs and ahhhs in the background.
The albums peaks around track 5, Skip The Youth, with it’s long intro and blast into ‘and I’ve been digging that hole tonight, on my knees beneath the moon, all I need is a place to lie, guess a grave will have to do’. This is a standout track on the album about how the young don’t understand what a gift youth really is. It’s about trying to grow up too fast.
The one complaint I do have is that the album is a little front-loaded. The second half is just a little repetative and slow…even boring at times. But if you get the version with bonus tracks, they bring that happy ending you are looking for. Fun Stuff and Learned Your Name are great, stripped down, classic Frightened Rabbit songs…with lyrics that remind me of that great song, Keep Yourself Warm.
I took off my clothes,
She took off hers too,
With no fanfares
And no hallelujahs.
Throughout the night,
I would grind away the truth