The death of Frightened Rabbit’s frontman, Scott Hutchison, has torn a hole in the Scottish creative scene. For someone like myself who grew up in Edinburgh, his music always had that beautiful, distinct element of nostalgia, even before it became the music of my past – evoking messy 2010 nights at T in the Park, a now-defunct festival that was once our equivalent to Glastonbury, where we would drink lukewarm cider and kiss boys we shouldn’t.
It was that bittersweet characteristic, found in both the arrangements that Frightened Rabbit produced and the yearning, terrifying quality of some of their lyrics, which kept us angsty teenagers coming back for more. There is something alluring about music that lets you feel complex emotions based on memory for the first time, especially tinged with the familiarity of experience, “dissolving in Scottish rain”.
That quality of nostalgia has remained in their music. “This record is a throwback sound that appeals to my past,” Hutchison told the NME of Dance Music, his recent album with the Frightened Rabbit supergroup Mastersystem. “People have said that it’s a weird combination of nostalgia and hearing the future of something.” He recognised the feelings it evoked.
Although it was once considered a disorder, research has shown that nostalgia can help people to be empathetic and deal with stress and anxiety – cementing people in their current experiences even as they reflect on their past. So, while the nostalgia experienced by listening to Frightened Rabbit might be painful at present, the brilliance of the emotion is that it is one almost always rooted in joy. For many, that is what Hutchison’s memory will bring.
• In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.