It might look like I only make posts about the same 5 bands, but it's pure coincidence, I promise. It just happens that way because they're touring...because they're releasing new albums...because there's news about them touring and releasing new albums....you know how it goes. And Frightened Rabbit is one of those bands. They're touring and I just received their new CD, The Midnight Organ Fight, hence this review and my previous impressions about their live show.
Frightened Rabbit's debut record, Sing The Greys, was a sleeper hit in 2006 that I was a big fan of. Despite it's flaws, it's become a staple in my music library. I was expecting the Scottish rabbits to follow so many bands before them with a significantly weaker sophomore album. But where bands like The Strokes and Band Of Horses buckled under pressure, Frightened Rabbit was able to take the opportunity to rework and improve their songwriting skills. And when I heard them play all of their new material live, I knew they had just one-upped themselves.
When comparing the opening tracks to both albums, The Greys versus The Modern Leper, it's clear that FR really stepped up and made a technically better record. Of course, I'm sure it's no coincidence that the album was recorded by Peter Katis (Interpol, Twilight Sad, etc.). The Modern Leper is epic and while it sets the bar a little high for Organ Fight, it shows everybody just what Frightened Rabbit is capable of. It's as catchy as anything found on Sing The Greys and is just a cleaner, more lush song. Sing The Greys was really great in it's "Hey, we're a new band having fun and making good music" sort of way but Organ Fight goes beyond that. They've developed as musicians and it shows.
Themes of loneliness, love, and heartache run rampant on The Midnight Organ Fight. The lyrics are as fun as before but they seem much more grown up here. At the end of My Backwards Walk, Scott Hutchison sings "You're the shit and I'm knee deep in it." Or on Keep Yourself Warm, "You won't find love in a whole. It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm." Clever, but sad. And his Scottish accent adds to the passion.
If you enjoyed Sing The Greys, then The Midnight Organ Fight is a step up and a completely worthy successor. And if you've never heard Frightened Rabbit before, then I'd start with Sing The Greys and work my way up to Organ Fight, so it can be appreciated for all it's worth.