Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight

Midnight Org
Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
Fat Cat
April 15, 2008

What It Sounds Like:  Indie rock with a touch of folk from Scotland, heavy on the intent of touching your soul.

Be forewarned:  You know why this page is so long?  Because I’m including a lot of lyrics – because the lyrics to this record – are simply magical.  I could read them on a page, have no clue what the music sounds like, and run to the nearest record store to pick this up.  They’re that good.  I hope, just possibly, that you may be inspired to do the same.

I was introduced to this Frightened Rabbit record years ago in college.  It’s stuck with me through the good times and bad times.  What makes this record great, as I already said (what pushes it over the edge) are the lyrics Scott Hutchison brings us.  Not only are they personal, but they’re beautifully written – you could have published them in a book of poetry and, by all rights, it would sell like mad.  This isn’t to say that they’re written in any sort of standard poetic phrasing.  It’s simply the struggles; the yearning; the defeat.

From Good Arms vs Bad Arms:

Leave the rest at arm’s length

Keep your naked flesh under your favorite dress
Leave the rest at arm’s length
When they reach out / don’t touch them / don’t touch them

I decided this decision some six months ago
So I’ll stick to my guns / but from now on it’s war
I am armed with the past, and the will, and a brick
I might not want you back / but I want to kill him

Leave the rest at arm’s length
I’m not ready to see you this happy
Leave the rest at arm’s length
I am still in love with you / can’t admit it yet

If you think that’s sappy, quick reading now.  This isn’t the record for you.  If you feel that stuff in your chest, continue on.

Scottish indie rock with a dash of folk influence is the most standard attempt at explaining the music here, and I’d say you are not going to be able to explain it much more than that other than actually listening to the record yourself.  It’s not simply recorded music though – it’s inspired – and it’s something you can’t touch – and that’s what makes it better than the rest – and sets it apart from any other record that you could file under “Scottish Indie Rock”.  The later half of Fast Blood includes some beautiful instrumentation that builds into a full wall of passion – you can hear in in the guitar, the drums, the bass.  They are not notes simply being hit.  You can see the expressions on their faces as they recorded this.  They mean it.  They believe it in.  Scott is obviously Scottish, and there is no mistaking it in his voice – his accent is heavy, and while you can understand his lyrics – it adds as purity to it that we don’t often find in American recordings.  And why is that?  I’m not immune to the fact that an accent gives it a special appeal to us Americans because it adds a different depth.  Why do we like foreign bands?  Why do we like import movies?  I’m sure those in Ireland and Scotland find some of our American bands mind blowing, simply because they’re different than the standard fare that they find in their home countries.

The Twist is almost a pop song, starting off with a popping keyboard that transforms into a steady beat song with Scott repeating So twist and whisper the wrong name / I don’t care and nor do my ears / Twist yourself around me / I need company / I need human heat / I need human heat.  He’s a lonely guy; there’s no mistaking it – the dude just needs some human interaction.  But he balances this record with a wonderful assortment of upbeat numbers (ex:  Head Rolls Off, I Feel Better, Keep Yourself Warm) and ballads (My Backwards Walk, Poke)

While it may not be the perfect introduction to Frighted Rabbit, I have to admit that those two ballads are probably my favorite tracks on the record.  The lyrics to My Backwards Walk are stunning.  The whole record seems to revolve around this unnamed girl – someone who has caused this man so much, simply put, pain.  There’s not a chorus to be found.  Not a verse.  Not a bridge.  It simply goes from start to finish, in one three-and-a-half minute stunner.  Poke simply reads so intimately, the lyrics beg to be put to paper.  Like a journal entry that was never meant for public eyes, you feel like you’re in someone’s most inner thoughts – right inside their head.  Read them both.  Feel them.  I can’t type anything else after they’re finished.  It would be inappropriate for me to feel that I could give any more commentary that would be more introspective and harrowing than the lyrics themselves.  Let’s just do the rating of this amazing record right now.

9/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  Poke / My Backwards Walk

My Backwards Walk

I’m working on my backwards walk
Walking with no shoes or socks
And the time rewinds to the end of May
I wish we’d never met, then met today

I’m working on my faults and cracks
Filling in the blanks and gaps
And when I write them out they don’t make sense
I need you to pencil in the rest

I’m working on drawing a straight line
And I’ll draw until I get one right
It’s bold and dark / girl can’t you see
I done drawn a line between you and me

I’m working on erasing you
Just don’t have the proper tools
I’ll get hammered / forget that you exist
There’s no way I’m forgetting this

I’m working hard on walking out
Shoes keep sticking to the ground
My clothes won’t let me close the door
‘Cause the trousers seem to love your floor

I been working on my backwards walk
There’s nowhere else for me to go
Except back to you just one last time
Say yes before I change my mind

Say yes before I…

You’re the shit and I’m knee-deep in it
You’re the shit and I’m knee-deep in it
You’re the shit and I’m knee-deep in it

Poke

Poke out my iris
Why can’t I cry about this?
Maybe there is something that you know that I don’t.
We adopt brand new language
Communicate through pursed lips
And you try not to put on any sexy clothes or graces.

I might never catch a mouse / and present it in my mouth
To make you feel you’re with someone who deserves to be with you.
But there’s one thing we’ve got going and it’s the only thing worth knowing,
It’s got lots to do with magnets and the pull of the moon.
Why won’t our love keel over as it chokes on a bone?
And we can mourn its passing and then bury it in snow.
Or should we kick its c–t in and watch as it dies from bleeding?
If you don’t want to be with me just say and I will go.

Oooh…

Well we can change our partners 
This is a progressive dance but
Remember it was me who dragged you up to the sweaty floor.
Well this has been a reel 
I’ve got shin-splints and a stitch from we,
But like a drunken night / It’s the best bits that are colored in.
You should look through some old photos / I adored you in every one of those.
If someone took a picture of us now they’d need to be told
That we had ever clung and tied / A navy knot with arms at night.
I’d say she was his sister but she doesn’t have his nose.
And now we’re unrelated and rid of all the shit we hated
But I hate when I feel like this 
And I never…

hated

you.

Oooh…

 

 

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