Sound — 9
Leading in quietly to "The Modern Leper", Frightened Rabbit establishes a very balanced sound that is followed consistently through the rest of the album. Stripped down, bare-bones rock with a couple sonic elements and echoing guitars (FR are very fond of letting high-delay chords close out their songs) produces a very even sound, which makes the album a huge listening pleasure. "The Modern Leper" and "I Feel Better" are very driven, but when the mood comes down for "Good Arms vs Bad Arms", you don't feel like you're missing anything, as there is enough ambiance even through the slowest songs to keep you interested. "Head Rolls Off" is one of the best examples of the band's ability to pack force and passion into an otherwise sleepy, atmospheric song. With this very consistent sound, FR doesn't pull anything out of their hat that will especially pique your interest in the middle of listening, but I for one much appreciate how wonderful it is to get lost in this album's sleepy, introspective tone (Having trouble falling asleep? Put "Floating On The Forth" on repeat and that'll take care of things quick).
Lyrics — 9
The albums is, indeed, "very relationshipy". The first four songs run the whole gauntlet of human emotions, from letting your guard down to true love ("The Modern Leper"), getting over a broken heart ("I Feel Better"), giving in to jealousy ("Good Arms... ") and on-the-rocks bedroom scenes ("Fast Blood"). This album also has some of the best one-liners I've ever heard in music. Lines like "I'm armed with the past and the will and a brick/I might not want you back but I want to kill him" ("Good Arms... ") make the songs very real and relatable. "Head Rolls Off" does a great job of softening the idea of death, saying "It's not morbid at all, just that nature's had enough of you". One of the most interesting lyrical examples on the album, in my opinion, has to be "Keep Yourself Warm", beautifully written and laced with a lot of emotion. Now, I personally am not one to appreciate gratuitous language and crudity in music. "Keep Yourself Warm", however, addresses cheap dance-club sex and it's consequences in a very raw and heart-wrenching way. Given the cheapness and destructive nature of the subject, lines like "It takes more than f--king someone you don't know to keep warm" seem almost indispensable; there's just no other way to say it. At times, the frankness and openness of the lyrics can seem a little cliche or out-there (I'm still trying to decipher the line "give me the cloth and I'll wipe my face" off "Head Rolls Off"), but this album relies on songs written to relate, and it does a great job.
Overall Impression — 10
I listened to this album twice through within a week of getting it, and it immediately shot into my Top-10 favorite albums. Sonicly charged, even-handed, and wonderfully relatable, "The Midnight Organ Fight" is a truly human endeavor from a brilliant and imaginative group of musicians. It's been a long time since I've listened to an album that has such a consistent sound while managing to give each song a life of it's own. Sad, funny, exciting, titillating, hopeful... you find everything in this album. Beautifully crafted.