With a standout opening track (we'll get back to this in a sec) and a round of hearty tunes from across the Atlantic, the release stirred up noted fervor for the forthcoming album. Yes, "Pedestrian Verse" was released today and it certainly lives up to the spirit espoused several months back. (Spotify embed below)
The only song to be carried over from the EP is the aforementioned opener, also titled "State Hospital." It's a belting tune, etched with rivulets of memories and passed time. But this 12-song album clearly goes beyond the bounds scripted within the earlier release.
"Acts of Man" opens the album with a slowly building melody splashed with vocalist Scott Hutchison's lilting modulations. The song goes on to alternate between jaunty bass rhythms, upper register reverb-soaked blips and ironic lyrics. Just shy of five minutes, the song weaves through many forms and musical stylings (the last 20 seconds or so are completely psychedelic). It's a great precursor to the rest of the album, which features equally powerful stuff.
There's the merry-go-round frenzy of "Backyard Skulls," the sepia-toned dirge of "The Woodpile" (which explodes into an exciting chorus), the reflective message of "Nitrous Gas" and plenty more.
Here's The AV Club with some interesting context behind the writing process:
At the beginning of the songwriting cycle for the album, he bought a new notebook and wrote “Pedestrian Verse” on the cover to motivate himself: “Every time I opened the book to work, those words on that lovely brown cover challenged me,” Hutchison wrote for Clash Magazine. “Don’t go writing about ‘the sky falling,’ mate, or how she is your ‘world.’ Don’t you fucking dare!” The intent was for Pedestrian Verse to be about other people instead of looking inward “like some sort of whiny bastard harpist.”
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