Sound — 8
Frightened Rabbit are the band created around Scott Hutchison's solo project of the same name. After starting out with just a few songs and an acoustic guitar, Scott roped his brother Grant in for drum duties, later followed by Billy Kennedy and Andy Monaghan. It is easy to see that this is a record that has been written entirely on guitars, but the textures added by the keyboards, drums, backing vocals and whatever else make for very detailed listening. There are even moments when a full orchestra takes over for a sort of reprise of key melodies from the album, which is an original idea for an album of this genre. Yes it falls under the indie rock umbrella, but there's no denying that the overall sound is fresh. The driving twang of Telecasters on the more upbeat songs contrasts with the delicate folk-style finger picking of songs like 'Poke', leading the listening on a journey through aggressive clean guitar territory that is rarely heard outside of good old country playing. As for stand-out guitar parts, the sliding lead guitar lick on the album's opening track 'The Modern Leper' is a gem.
Lyrics — 10
The real genius in this album is to be found in its lyrics. Granted, the topics are fairly old-hat (love, self loathing, nightlife et cetera) but the approach Scott Hutchison takes when tackling these subjects is truly unique. Within one song he can employ clever metaphors of love-making; "It's a choo-choo train, a rocket launch", juxtaposed with brilliantly forthright claims; "It takes more than f--king someone you don't know to keep yourself warm" and even still have room for an optimistic mantra; "I'll get my hole, I'll get my hole!" Other musings of the transience of life (We'll all be the same way; just dust in someone's eyes cryed down the drain) add to the diverse themes which Scott covers, but even he has confessed that this is, in essence, 'a break-up album'. As a vocalist, Scott does his job perfectly. I wouldn't cast him in an opera or anything, but within the FR membrane, he is fantastic. Purposely exaggerated off-key singing grabs the attention in the third verse of 'Old Old Fashioned', while the haunting falsetto of 'Poke' and 'Floating in the Forth' solidify his singing capabilities.
Overall Impression — 9
I first heard of FR via an article found with StumbleUpon. I try to sample every band I come across, but it is rare that a band would stand out as much as these guys did. Within, FR were among my favourite bands, and I quickly realised I have a major thing for that Scottish twang in a singing voice (read: Biffy Clyro, Succioperro). If you are reading this and have not heard this band, I highly recommend you check them out, even just to pick up some lyrical ideas. My favourite tracks, without listing all of them, would be 'Heads Roll Off', 'Who'd You Kill Now' and 'Poke'. FR won't be everyone's cup of tea, but fans of modern indie, 80s guitar pop and anyone open-minded should get a kick out of 'The Midnight Organ Fight'. As a last word, and perhaps a summation, I love this album and still listen to it after 4 months, you ought to do likewise.