Friday, May 23, 2008

Dissolve in Scottish Rain

Late to the party as ever, I just started listening to Frightened Rabbit's The Midnight Organ Fight. Hearing they were on FatCat records I found a bit intimidating - I was expecting two laptops and lots of bleeps, clicks and whirrs. But no. This is a proper rock band. From Selkirk. And they play proper rock songs. I was hooked from the first listen.

Now if you wanted to make a crass and lazy comparison you could say FR are a Caledonian The National (listen to Fast Blood especially the first 40 seconds before the vocals come in and tell me it wouldn't fit in on Boxer). But who would make such a crass and lazy comparison?

There are the three things that draw me to this record, other than the consistent quality of all the songs. They are proper rock songs: spare, slow-building but also anthemic (hey a bit like The National). They also draw on a great Scottish tradition of self-deprecation and vulgar humour (Arab Strap comes to mind) - listen to Keep Warm below. Then what helps them stand out is Grant Hutchinson's voice. His delivery veers from bitter growl to plaintive despair. The songs are great depictions of anguish, rejection, illness and suicide with Grant centre-stage but almost wishing he wasn't there. A bit like that Matt Berninger from that other band...

It's an intense listen but well worth the admission price. Annoyed to miss them playing Night and Day last month (The Indie Credential has a write-up here) but good to see them back in Manchester for this. Roll on August.

Frightened Rabbit
The Midnight Organ Fight[BUY] or [BUY]

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