» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Frightened Rabbit
The Midnight Organ Fight
Fat Cat

Rating: 9.5/10 ?

April 10, 2008
FACT: Frightened Rabbit's sophomore disc, The Midnight Organ Fight, is the catchiest collection of pop tunes released thus far in 2008.

A litany of reasons exist to substantiate that fact. For starters, Frightened Rabbit's sound is an amalgam of everything there is to love about Echo & The Bunnymen, The National, Interpol and even James, while still exhibiting its own youthful originality. Adding to the album's pop brilliance is the sonic interplay between original guitarist Scott Hutchinson and second guitarist Billy Kennedy - a to and fro that creates an endlessly more interesting sound than the more typical guitar, drum and bass line-up. Drummer Grant Hutchinson's flawless rhythms, reminiscent of Steven Morris, drive these songs toward their often heartbreaking conclusions. The primary draw of Frightened Rabbit though is lead singer Scott Hutchinson's Scottish sincerity, which blends gorgeously with his Scottish vulgarity, to the extent that the line: "You're The Shit/ and I'm knee deep in it" comes across with an endearing tenderness. With his heart on his sleeve and his mates providing the soundtrack, The Midnight Organ Fight becomes Scott Hutchinson's chronicle of lost love, meaningless sex, and the foxhole prayer that there might be something here worth sticking around for.

The album's opening track, "The Modern Leper," begins as an unassuming acoustic riff, quickly accelerating and building to an explosive finale that features slide guitar and Hutchinson imploring his love to disclose her true self: "Are you a masochist?/ To love a modern leper on his last leg." The track is pop gold, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album quite nicely - widely dynamic and blunt love songs in which broken people emotionally ravage one another and have all kinds of meaningless coitus in the process. The album's most overtly sexual song, "Keep Yourself Warm," details the emptiness resulting from a series of one-night stands. Hutchinson's inebriated character stammers over an ocean of organ: "I'm drunk/ I'm drunk/ And you're probably on pills/ If we've both got the same diseases/ It's irrelevant girl" and later: "You won't find love in a hole/ It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm." With that kind of exposed nerve, brutal honesty separates Frightened Rabbit from so many of their pop-rock peers. Songs about people in relationships are a dime a dozen but, Hutchinson's characters seem more at home in the lurid and seedy confines of a Bukowski novel than on MTV's sterile rotation. The album's only non-relationship song, "Head Rolls Off," deals with religion in the same frank manner as it does love: "Jesus is just a Spanish boy's name/ How come one man got so much fame?" (Oddly enough, the song has a completely unrelated but nonetheless cute video.)

After geeking-out to this album for a week, I decided it was time for a second opinion. I played The Midnight Organ Fight for my friend Beth, in order to get the female perspective on the tunes. Beth, speaking on behalf of all women, summed up what she liked about the album: "It all sounds like stuff your super-eloquent boyfriend says to you as you're getting ready to go out for the night while he sits sadly on the sofa, thinking through why you're going through a wrenching break up." Ladies, take note, Frightened Rabbit wants to be your boyfriend and break your heart.

The Midnight Organ Fight is going to have its share of detractors. There will be a lot of listeners who cannot stomach the semi-slick, cute factor in some of its songs. The production work of Peter Katis (who has also glossed cuts for Interpol, The National and The Twilight Sad) is incredible and seamless as always, though with Frightened Rabbit the result is certainly more Joshua Tree than Slanted and Enchanted. With that in mind though, there is honesty in these songs that cannot be found on most of the pretentious pap getting heralded as "the next big thing." Whether or not you choose to accept it, the FACT is that Scotland's own Hutchinson brothers have created a sweet and powerful collection of tunes with The Midnight Organ Fight.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke



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