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For the readers: I have an unhealthy obsession with the perfect pop song (read: Since U Been GoneYou Belong To Me — apparently my ears want me to be a teenage girl), understated guitar albums and I could not live without Weezer — well, maybe post-Pinkerton Weezer — or The Hold Steady.

Rating system
0 stars – Complete and utter garbage
1 star – Best just not to ever press play, save your ears for another day
2 stars – Not completely atrocious, but one you’ll probably forget about as soon as it’s over
3 stars – Good, but not great, likely with some excellent songs and others you’ll skip right through
4 stars – Damn good album, one you’ll definitely want to enjoy again and again
5 stars – Instant Classic

3.5 stars

Two years ago Glasgow’s Frightened Rabbit knocked one out of the park with their critically acclaimed The Midnight Organ Fight. The same can’t be said for their newest release, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. That’s not to say that Mixed Drinks is a bad record — it’s not. It’s just hard to follow such a soaring and brutally honest record like The Midnight Organ Fight. I think any follow-up would bring on mild disappointment.

The 2008 release encapsulated the feelings of being in a relationship from the beginning to end: joy, happiness, love, heartache, self-loathing, depression, suicidal tendencies. With Mixed Drinks the songs might sound more hopeful at the end of the record, but none of them have the gratifying release of their predecessor. It’s the audible equivalent to blue balls. But that’s just a minor complaint.

Working with producer Peter Katis and having gained a fifth member, Frightened Rabbit have created a lush record with dense soundscapes — think Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” production. Mixed Drinks will also bring Frightened Rabbit to their much deserved larger audience. The record is filled with hooks for days. The songwriting, arrangements and vocals are perfectly paired with each song.

The Winter of Mixed Drinks sits nicely in the rest of their catalog, but sadly lacks the charm of their previous effort.

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