CD Review: Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight (FatCat)

Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ FightThis record has barely been off my CD player / out of my car / off my MediaMonkey playlist for the past three weeks. I’ve had nights where the chorus of “The Modern Leper” or the first verse of “My Backwards Walk” has done endless somersaults through my brain, refusing to let me sleep. This album is so good it could seriously damage your health. Or at least leave you feeling a bit drowsy in the morning.

Frightened Rabbit have come on in leaps and bounds since their excellent Sings The Greys debut. While that record was a little rough around the edges and lacked focus, what with it being a fleshed out mini-album, The Midnight Organ Fight is a fully-formed indie classic-in-waiting, unerring in its consistency over its fourteen track length. The aforementioned “The Modern Leper” kicks things off in blistering style with an epic chorus that would fill the heart with glee were it not an outlet for Scott Hutchison’s monumental self-loathing. It could well be the best track on the album but this is one of those albums where the best track changes from day to day, listen to listen. “Fast Blood”, with its gorgeous Sonic Youthesque guitar riffs, and “Good Arms vs Bad Arms”, with its beautiful, keening chorus, are regular contenders, as is “My Backwards Walk”, which builds and builds to a surprising conclusion when the drum machine bursts in out of nowhere. There are three minute-long tracks – an instrumental, a reprise of another song and a curious album closer that sounds like a work-in-progress – and they all work well as stop gaps, allowing us just enough time to digest the greatness of the previous few tracks before readying us for what is to come.

There’s quite an obvious folk influence over much of the album, with shades of bluegrass on the jaunty “Old Old Fashioned” and a debt owed to Will Oldham on the excellent “Poke”. Catchy choruses abound, some of which could be described as positively anthemic, though Hutchison’s lyrics keep the songs grounded in the grim reality of his personal life: the meaningless drunken sex, the self-loathing, the “other man” he wants to kill, the not being in a relationship, the being in a relationship you want out of. The Scots are very good at this sort of thing and he is no exception. There’s even a note of optimism late on in “Floating In The Forth” when, after another break-up, he finds the strength to “save suicide for another year”. It’s another superb song at the end of an album that will surely mark 2008 out to be the Year of the Rabbit.

Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper

Frightened Rabbit – My Backwards Walk

3 Responses to “CD Review: Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight (FatCat)”

  • Paul Says:

    Great review and excellent tracks.

    I’ve just ordered a copy of their CD.

    BTW – enjoy Breeders? I thought they played a blinder!

  • Paul Says:

    OK – the album is sensational.

    I’ve been playing it a lot since it arrived after you recommended it!

    I Lurrrve ‘Head Rolls Off’ – great video too (on YouTube).

    Thanks for the recommendation – keep ’em coming!

    Also – a recommendation for you – have a listen to The Domino State – two great 7″ singles to date…

  • The Ledge Says:

    Cheers Paul, it’s good to know we’ve got some readers out there who are actually influenced by our words of wisdom.

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