Frightened Rabbit are a fairly unnoticed Scottish band that have released three stellar albums in just over 6 years and are expected to release their fourth in 2012. Their second release, The Midnight Organ Fight was my first brush with the band, when I heard the track Keep Yourself Warm. This track is a brilliant introduction to Frabbit, but not necessarily the most accurate. I went on to buy the whole album and instantly fell in love.
The folk-ish acoustic stylings of Frightened Rabbit have hints of traditional Scottish music, but the energy of modern indie bands. Either way, Frabbit don’t fall into either camp. The opening track, “The Modern Leper” is one of the most representative tracks that the album has, beginning with a solitary acoustic guitar and vocalist Scott Hutchison’s light voice passing over the top. The track reaches crescendo as the lyrics swell with optimism. Truth be told this isn’t an optimistic album: it’s heartbreaking. It details the story of a brutal breakup. But in no way is it angsty, it doesn’t complain, it simply notes the feelings and situations that one finds oneself in during a breakup. It’s so beautifully observant that it’s hard not to empathise with Hutchison, who drew from personal experience to pen the lyrics for this album. Between the lines, though, the music doesn’t ever feel immediately depressive, aside from tracks like “My Backwards Walk” and “Keep Yourself Warm”, but the vocals change the major chords to minors. There are so many layers to each track, with multiple guitars twisting and tweeting, the occasional keyboard or piano, almost inappropriate upbeatness to the drums over the slower numbers. There are the permeating backing vocals supporting most melodies in the record, meaning that fans can even sing along with the instrumental sections in a live show. It’s been penned with such artistry that there’s no point on a single track that doesn’t feel out of place for a single second. The tracks are compacted into 3-4 minutes of absolute songwriting. Switching from acoustic guitars to electric for tracks like “Fast Blood”, from which the album takes its title, allowing a more echoey sound for the instrumental. The production on the album too holds its own, making the album sound like it’s been recorded at one time but still each track has its own individual sound.
There are dancier tracks too, with songs like “Old Old Fashioned”, an oddly cheerful song pining for the return to happiness in a doomed relationship – “Let’s get old fashioned, back to how things used to be/If I get old, old fashioned, would you get old old fashioned with me?” which seems like the dancey counterpart to “Poke”, which is probably the quietest song on the album and because it’s so understated, it feels like the low point of the album.
In all, The Midnight Organ Fight has the highs and lows that all the best albums do, heartbreaking and oddly uplifting at the same time. The music is one hundred percent on point and the sound is so atmospheric. If you like the current indie-folk revival, chances are you’ll love Frightened Rabbit, and if you like Scottish music, you’ll love Frightened Rabbit, and if you like albums for when you’re upset, you’ll love Frightened Rabbit, and if you’re a fan of albums for when you’re in a great mood, you’ll love Frightened Rabbit.
Get this album.
Best Tracks: “Floating In The Forth”, “Keep Yourself Warm”, “The Modern Leper”, “My Backwards Walk”