Frightened Rabbit: The Midnight Organ Fight

This is not a review, technically, its far too short and mostly scatterbrain. It’s also being written while I listen to the album, which some would consider a bad idea. This is just a reminder to people (and to myself, perhaps), that this is a damn good album. I fear that Frightened Rabbit have come around a decade and a bit too late, they would have fit in perfectly in the mid 90s, providing a compliment to the more swaggering BritPop that had emerged. Their music is softer and gentler, but it is more interesting and their lyrics subtly complex. Perhaps then they would get a little bit more of the recognition they deserve.

This particular album, their second, which was released in 2007, has enough variety to sustain the length, and although it seems to come alongside the current wave of indie-rock it seems to hark back to a simpler time. I am almost tempted to call the album timeless, as there on a certain level they engage in what the Coen brothers may refer to as “old-timey material”. The band seem to recognise this on the rhythmic “Old Old Fashioned”, where they call for “that soft, soft static with a human voice underneath”.

The self-deprecation shown on this album befits standard indie, but Frightened Rabbit are happy to throw a curveball now and again, the plodding lament “My Backwards Walk” suddenly breaks off into a quick-fire repeating off the line “you’re the shit and I’m knee-deep in it” just at the point it is least expected. The bitter lyrics are reminiscent of “Final Straw”-era Snow Patrol, as are the tortured Celtic vocals. Lead man Scott Hutchinson seems much happier than most of his rivals, however, to express self-disgust, referring to himself as a “cripple” and a “modern leper on his last legs” before the gorgeous opening track, “The Modern Leper”, has even finsihed.

Often I prefer albums which are sporadically excellent as opposed to those that are consistently pleasant, but I would call this an exception, it is refereshing that average tracks (in the context of the album) do not cause the album to lag or feel excessively long, and instead of putting filler songs near the end of the album, there are instead a number of minute-long interludes dotted around which are moodily interesting but do not ruin the flow of the album, and they are welcome.

So overall, this really is a very good album, and I almost feel like re-writing my Top 42 Albums list that I posted earlier in the week to reflect this. They really do a lot right and if you’re into a form of meloncholy but uplifting pop that provides both smart poetry and consistent quality you really should get this.


About Alex Pavitt
I work in the field of emotion. My tools are instinctual feelings and my laptop is the medium between my brain and the outside world. I deconstruct and rebuild. I imagine. I steal other people's lyrics because somtimes, my own words aren't enough. I spend all of my time somewhere inside my head. I worship Douglas Adams, and in the back of my mind I am always painfully aware that I will never be as good as him or, for that matter, anybody else.

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