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First Listen: Frightened Rabbit

The Scottish band Frightened Rabbit knows what it's like to want to be left alone: Its terrific new album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, spends a lot of time examining the pursuit of solitude in a world fraught with distraction, obligation, unrequited desire and romantic dysfunction. By the end of the first two songs, "Things" and "Swim Until You Can't See Land," singer Scott Hutchison has already scrapped his worldly possessions and indulged in a "drowning of the past" that'll presumably result in the drowning of Hutchison himself.

It sounds bleak and misanthropic — this is, after all, a band from the scene which spawned the similarly surly likes of Glasvegas, We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Twilight Sad — because it is. (The unofficial motto of all these bands might as well be "To Hell With the Whole Sorry Lot of You.") But Frightened Rabbit knows well enough to package even the most bile-sodden sentiment within a sort of jaunty, sparkling majesty.

The follow-up to 2008's outstanding The Midnight Organ Fight, The Winter of Mixed Drinks will be available on this page in its entirety until its release on March 9. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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