Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Frightened Rabbit: The Midnight Organ Fight

     Right then, before we start, I have to say that this album contains a track that, when I listen to it, makes me swell up and try not to burst out crying. Bearing in mind I only cry at really sad films and emotional reunions, this was quite a surprise for me. Anyhow, Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish rock band formed in 2003, with three studio albums hanging proudly from their belt. The Midnight Organ Fight is their second, released in the April of 2008. Strangely enough, frontman Scott Hutchison started this album as a solo record, and only really polished it off after forming Frightened Rabbit and releasing a debut album, Sing The Greys. In that respect, I consider this to be the band's first album, even though it well, wasn't. A strange effort though, merging the alternative with some folk and rock elements that grip each others hands and race straight to your heart., though perhaps not in a good way. A mixed effort from Frightened Rabbit brings mixed opinions.
     The first track blew my mind when I first listened to it, and was really the thing that caused my purchase of all Frightened Rabbit discography. A song that starts of normally enough, with a simple guitar and tinkling piano sounds. Hutchinson's voice get more passionate as the drums come in, which suddenly explode in an emotional section that is simply fantastic. The lyrics match the sound of his voice, which at parts trembles with the apparent effort not to burst out crying. A track about loss and love and hope and despair, this is an incredible example of  a song sang to mean something and to evoke an emotional response. For me, no other track manages to reproduce the feeling of this one.
     Still, the rest of the album isn't bad, just not as good. One problem I felt stood out was the lack of variety. All the songs sound very much the same and at points I even came to the question, have I heard this chord or melody before? The songs are different, but not enough for me. As a passive listen, I wasn't able to distinguish between tracks except for when one finished and another began, which didn't do anything for my enjoyment at all. The title track's magnificence clouded the rest of the album as well, creating a sense of anticipation that didn't really lead anywhere, and which wasn't fulfilled. I kept waiting for a song of equal emotion and passion, and when the album ended and my hopes were dashed, I didn't feel an urge to return to it, unfortunately.
     Overall, this is one of those special albums in that if you are buying this record online, download the title track 'Modern Leper'. The rest of the songs I'm afraid though good, don't compare. Not saying that I didn't enjoy them, because I did. This is really difficult to explain. The title track was fantastic and memorable. The rest were good, but don't match the feeling the first one evoked. I'm not throwing up over this album, but I'm not totally in love with it either. If you love simple folk rock that does one thing well, but only one thing, check this out. Those who appreciate a little more variety mightn't appreciate this.