Frightened Rabbit Make the Political Personal on "Fields of Wheat"
Their song in response to the UK general election was tagged "#Fuck The Tories" on Soundcloud.
Photo: Cheney Orr
The question itself – "what's the naughtiest thing you've ever done?" – is exceedingly English. An American journalist might have asked whether or not a prospective head of state had taken narcotics in college, had an affair, or beaten a man half to death for the fun of it on a four-day bender in Reno. In England, cable TV faces ask about "naughtiness" like they're speaking to a five-year-old who can't stop pulling pigtails. It says a lot about Theresa May, Prime Minister for now, that she couldn't respond to that question last week with anything more than a disingenuously childlike anecdote. "Well, nobody is ever perfectly behaved, are they?," she responded. "I mean, you know, there are times when... I have to confess, when me and my friend, sort of, used to run through the fields of wheat. The farmers weren't too pleased about that."
You don't have to look far for some more naughty moments from Theresa May. Her vocal antipathy towards the Human Rights Act, her office's intimidation of undocumented immigrants, her desire to sell the National Health Service off for parts, and her plans for further cuts to the country's public school system are all recent examples of her getting a little "naughty." Just this week, she's been scrambling to form a government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, a bloated mess of anti-Catholic, anti-women's rights, anti-LGBTQ climate change-deniers. Terribly naughty, that.
Scottish indie quintet Frightened Rabbit might not have been the most obvious candidates for a song in response to Thursday's general election in the UK, but it makes more sense after hearing their hastily-released new song, "Fields of Wheat." They've always been able to work dark comedy into their self-confessed sad-sackery, and they've always had an eye on the world outside – they're not the navel-gazers that they're branded as by some critics.
"Fields of Wheat" was shared on Soundcloud yesterday, accompanied by a brief note. "We made this today," the band wrote. "It felt like the song should go out now, because it's about what's happening now, it's about where we live and if we waited too long the sentiment could go stale. We don't want to be too descriptive or conclusive here, our only hope is that you listen, enjoy and share it." As for the "descriptive or conclusive" part, they tagged the song, "#Fuck The Tories."
They touch on the grotesque comedy of May's "fields of wheat" nonsense and use it as a base for their rumination on an unequal society and the dangers of a Conservative government. "Fields of wheat / bread and butter on your knees / Pretty soon, apart from the love we give and get back from our families, nothing will be free," Scott Hutchison sings over a single acoustic guitar. Listen to the track in full below and read our interview with Frightened Rabbit from last year right here.
Alex Robert Ross doesn't trust Tories. Follow him on Twitter.