The Winter of Mixed Drinks

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The Winter of Mixed Drinks
Studio album by Frightened Rabbit
Released 1 March 2010
(see release history)
Recorded 2009 at Castle Sound Studios, Pencaitland, Scotland; Tarquin Studios, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Genre Indie rock, indie folk
Length 45:55
Label Fat Cat
Producer Peter Katis
Frightened Rabbit chronology
The Midnight Organ Fight
(2008)
The Winter of Mixed Drinks
(2010)
A Frightened Rabbit EP
(2011)
Singles from The Winter of Mixed Drinks
  1. "Swim Until You Can't See Land"
    Released: November 2009
  2. "Nothing Like You"
    Released: February 2010
  3. "Living in Colour"
    Released: June 2010
  4. "The Loneliness and the Scream"
    Released: November 2010

The Winter of Mixed Drinks is the third studio album by Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit, released on 1 March 2010 through independent label Fat Cat Records.[1] As with its predecessor, the critically acclaimed The Midnight Organ Fight (2008), the album was recorded and produced by Peter Katis. Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Scott Hutchison states that The Winter of Mixed Drinks is "more of a storytelling record" than the band's previous two albums,[2] and notes that the album is "about an escape and maybe even a slight breakdown. I have to say, it's semi-fictional. There's a protagonist who is possibly male but it doesn't really describe my life because if I did that it wouldn't make for an interesting album this time around as I’ve been quite solid and content, thankfully."[3]

The album was preceded by the singles "Swim Until You Can't See Land" and "Nothing Like You", released during November 2009 and February 2010, respectively. The album's third single "Living in Colour" was released on 14 June.[4] The album's title comes from a line in the song "Living in Colour", with Hutchison stating, "I think we've all had odd, lonely, fallow periods in life, where you find yourself detached from everything, drifting and lost. That's what [the title] means to me, but most importantly, it's the moments of joy afterwards, during recovery, that defines the dark period."[5] The album's fourth and final single "The Loneliness and the Scream" was released in November 2010.[6]

Background and recording[edit]

The Winter of Mixed Drinks was written over seven weeks, in the coastal town of Crail, Fife, following heavy touring in support of the band's second album, The Midnight Organ Fight.[7] Drummer Grant Hutchison states that "the location had a big impact on the songs. There's definitely a nautical theme to a lot of the tracks and a feeling of testing yourself to the limit which the sea plays a big part in. Scott [Hutchison] had a daily routine of walking along the beach until an idea came into his head and he would then turn round and develop it on the way home."[8] Demo versions of the songs were subsequently recorded by Scott during his stay in Crail.

The album was primarily recorded at Castle Sound Studios, in Pencaitland, Scotland, with additional recording taking place at Tarquin Studios, in Connecticut, with producer Peter Katis. Recording was complete by mid-2009, with Hutchison stating that he doesn't want "huge [gaps] in between records."[9] The album also marks guitarist and keyboard player Andy Monaghan's recording debut with the band.

Hutchison has stated that the album is "a lot more detailed and complete" than The Midnight Organ Fight, and that the band recorded their parts separately:[3]

it's not a "live" album at all, it's a real studio effort. Everything has been separately recorded and that's the way I like to make records. There was just something I regretted about the way the last one was recorded, sonically, that I didn't want to happen again. I didn't make the album I wanted to last time - I had to exorcise that feeling.

Hutchison cites closing track "Yes, I Would" as indicative of the album's overall tone, stating that "there was a conscious effort to eschew the song structure we have employed so often on the last two records – the build and build and build – and that method extends to the album as a whole."[10]

Alongside the announcement of the album's title on Scottish music blog, The Pop Cop, the band unveiled a fifth member, Gordon Skene, formerly of Make Model.[3] Later, NME confirmed the band would be playing a special intimate show in London to celebrate Skene's arrival.[11] Similar to Andy Monaghan's entry into the band in early 2008, Skene was not involved in recording the album. Upon his arrival, Hutchison noted that "it must be difficult for him coming into something that four other people were involved in studio-wise. He's not seen any of that process yet. He's coming in playing these songs that perhaps he likes, but doesn't have that same level of connection with, so I think one of the aims [...] is to try and help build that for him."[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (78/100)[12]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[13]
The A.V Club A[14]
BBC Music (favorable)[15]
Drowned in Sound 8/10[16]
The Fly 4.5/5 stars[17]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[18]
NME 8/10[19]
Rock Sound 8/10[20]
This Is Fake DIY 9/10[21]
ShockHound 5/5 stars[22]
The Skinny 4/5 stars[23]
Pitchfork Media 6.6/10[24]

As with predecessor, The Midnight Organ Fight (2008), the album was greeted with widespread praise from critics. Allmusic awarded the album four stars out of five. Heather Phares wrote, "On Winter of Mixed Drinks, they focus and polish Organ Fight’s epics — and add a healthy dose of optimism. Though they’ve always been concerned with heavy issues like life, death, freedom, devotion, and spirituality, this time the bandmembers don’t seem beaten down by their struggles with them. Even when Scott Hutchison sings “Find God just to lose it again” on “The Loneliness and the Scream,” there’s a warmth in the music that makes him sound liberated instead of isolated."[13] Josh Modell of The A.V Club awarded an "A" rating in his review and stated that the album is an "early contender for 2010 best-of lists," and described the album as The Midnight Organ Fight's "slightly more subdued older brother."[14] Laura Barton, writing for the BBC, was also favourable in her review and described the album as, "more polished, more polite than the band’s earlier offerings, but it’s reassuring to note that the band’s scruffy-hearted charm still lies just below the surface."[15]

Robert Cooke of Drowned in Sound was also impressed and awarded a score of eight out of ten, despite stating it "falls short of the dizzying intensity of its masterpiece of a predecessor." He praised frontman Scott Hutchison in particular, describing his performance as still having the "same tremble in the voice, the same elegance in the guitar tone, the same march of the Military Tattoo in the rhythm – but a renewed purpose".[16] Free music magazine, The Fly, awarded the album four ½ out of five stars. Iain Moffat claimed that Scott Hutchison has one of the "most underrated voices in rock" as well as praising the "lyrical sharpness" of the album. He summarised his review by adding, "what more could you possibly want from Frightened Rabbit’s third album? They’re hurling themselves fearlessly at the bright lights, and coming back all the stronger for it."[17] Dave Simpson of The Guardian praised the album's "sharp" songwriting, stating, "most of their songs – with themes of escape, freedom and reinvention – have huge impassioned choruses that are made to be shouted from the nearest available mountain". Awarding four stars, he also added, "The Rabbit are a band overdue a breakthrough, and fans of everyone from Arcade Fire to the similarly revamped Maccabees will find much to love here."[18]

NME magazine called the album "stunning". Praising the band's progression from previous releases, they wrote; "For every song of heartache (‘Yes, I Would’) and self-loathing (‘The Loneliness & The Scream’), there’s one of redemption (‘Foot Shooter’) or hope ('Swim Until You Can’t See Land’). The album deviates from their previous alt-folkish sensibilities: the fuzzed-up shoegazing of ‘Things’ and the anthemic chorus of ‘Living In Colour’ herald an exciting new bullshit-free dawn."[19] Rock Sound awarded the album eight out of ten. Ben Patashnik said, "Hopefully by now people will have stopped writing FR off as twee indie miserablists; their name gives no indication of the heart-swelling delights contained within". He also added, "rather than wallowing in self-indulgent sorrow, FR are now masters of the intimate emotional portrait writ large."[20] Gareth O’Malley of This Is Fake DIY opined the album was a "step up" from The Midnight Organ Fight. Awarding a score of nine out of ten, he wrote, "As its predecessor was a unified whole (an unflinchingly honest breakup record), so too is Mixed Drinks, though this time around its themes are regret, rebirth, and change."[21] Scottish publication, The Skinny awarded the album four stars out of five. Darren Carle stated, "For those who have journeyed with Frightened Rabbit to this point The Winter of Mixed Drinks is as good an album as could be hoped, as the newly-expanded quintet teeter on the edge of mainstream success. It’s no sell-out and no ‘just add strings’ indie crossover either. They are simply too self-aware for that to be an issue."[23]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
NME UK Top 75 Albums of 2010 2010 50[25]
Drowned in Sound UK Albums of the Year 2010 64[26]

Tracklisting[edit]

All lyrics written by Scott Hutchison; music by Frightened Rabbit.[27]

  1. "Things" — 4:26
  2. "Swim Until You Can't See Land" — 4:19
  3. "The Loneliness and the Scream" — 4:09
  4. "The Wrestle" — 4:00
  5. "Skip the Youth" — 6:18
  6. "Nothing Like You" — 3:03
  7. "Man/Bag of Sand" — 2:26
  8. "Foot Shooter" — 4:13
  9. "Not Miserable" — 4:12
  10. "Living In Colour" — 3:46
  11. "Yes, I Would" — 4:37
  12. "Fun Stuff" (bonus track) — 3:30
  13. "Learned Your Name" (bonus track) — 2:40

Personnel[edit]

The following personnel contributed to The Winter of Mixed Drinks:[27]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue # Ref.
United Kingdom 1 March 2010 Fat Cat Records CD, LP, Digital FATCD84 [28]
United States March 9, 2010 [29]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
position
US Billboard 200[30] 84
US Independent Albums[30] 7
UK Albums Chart[31] 61
UK Independent Albums[32] 5

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks". Fat Cat Records. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  2. ^ "2010: Year of the Rabbit? An Interview with Frightened Rabbit". The Skinny. 
  3. ^ a b c "I didn’t make the album I wanted to last time - I had to exorcise that feeling". The Pop Cop. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  4. ^ Blanche, Cate. "Frightened Rabbit's Postcard From A Travelodge". Drowned In Sound. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  5. ^ Broad, Craig. "Frightened Rabbit Interview". God Is In The TV. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  6. ^ FatCat Records: Releases - Frightened Rabbit - The Loneliness and the Scream
  7. ^ Rogers, Jude (2010-03-11). "Frightened Rabbit in the headlights". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  8. ^ Mitchell, Nick. "Interview: Frightened Rabbit - Mixed Drinks, bacon rashers and Songs of Praise". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  9. ^ a b Gourlay, Dom. "2010 Preview: DiS meets Frightened Rabbit". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  10. ^ "'The Winter of Mixed Drinks' Track by Track. Frightened Rabbit explain new album". Clash. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  11. ^ "Frightened Rabbit set to play intimate gig on London landmark". NME. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  12. ^ "http://www.metacritic.com/music/the-winter-of-mixed-drinks/frightened-rabbit/critic-reviews". MetaCritic. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "The Winter of Mixed Drinks > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  14. ^ a b Modell, Josh. "Frightened Rabbit: The Winter of Mixed Drinks". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  15. ^ a b Barton, Laura. "Review of Frightened Rabbit - The band’s scruffy-hearted charm still lies just below the surface". BBC. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  16. ^ a b Cooke, Robert. "Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  17. ^ a b Moffat, Iain. "Frightened Rabbit ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ (Fatcat)". The Fly. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  18. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (2010-02-25). "Frightened Rabbit: The Winter of Mixed Drinks (Fatcat)". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  19. ^ a b "Album Review: Frightened Rabbit -'The Winter Of Mixed Drinks' (Fat Cat)". NME. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  20. ^ a b Patashnik, Ben. "Frightened Rabbit: The Winter Of Mixed Drinks - FR are now masters of the intimate emotional portrait writ large". Rock Sound. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  21. ^ a b O’Malley, Gareth. "Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks". This Is Fake DIY. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  22. ^ Bayer, Jonah. "Frightened Rabbit > The Winter Of Mixed Drinks > Featured Editorial Review". ShockHound. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  23. ^ a b Carle, Darren. "Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks". The Skinny. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  24. ^ Raber, Rebecca. "Album Reviews: Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  25. ^ "NME Top 75 Albums Of 2010". Stereogum. 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  26. ^ Adams, Sean (2010-11-30). "Drowned in Sound Albums of the Year 2010: 75-51 / In Depth // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  27. ^ a b The Winter of Mixed Drinks (CD). Frightened Rabbit. Fat Cat Records. 2010. FATCD84. 
  28. ^ "Music: The Winter of Mixed Drinks (2010)". HMV. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  29. ^ "Winter Of Mixed Drinks CD by Frightened Rabbit". CD Universe. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  30. ^ a b "Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  31. ^ "Chart Stats - Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  32. ^ "UK Top 40 Indie Album Chart". Official Charts Company. BBC Radio One. 2010-03-07. Archived from the original on 2010-03-13.