Review Summary: Desperate, shattered, and needy. Oh, and one of the most beautiful things you will likely hear in your entire life.
The way that Frightened Rabbit opens The Midnight Organ Fight
is nothing short of extraordinary. The clean, basic acoustic guitar playing gradually blends with lead singer Scott Hutchinson, who sounds overcome and dejected. A few echoing beats of the drum later, “The Modern Leper” soars into an epic chorus depicting a combination of addiction and self-loathing that permeates the entire record:
Is that you in front of me?
Coming back for even more of exactly the same
You must be a masochist to love a modern leper
On his last leg
The Midnight Organ Fight
can be summarized in a lot of the same ways as its striking opener. The album is relatively simple from an instrumental perspective, lacking the innovation to shower it with praise for being technically “groundbreaking”…yet it is still profound on the basis of how it utilizes its simplicity. The combination of the music and Scott’s sensitive singing and songwriting makes for an emotionally potent sound that, despite its depressing nature, is about as dynamic and vibrant as one can possibly find. The album rolls without a hitch, from one touching ode to another, and draws the listener into a whirlwind of devastation and heartbreak that will have you feeling every ounce of Scott Hutchinson’s turmoil.
There is no doubt that The Midnight Organ Fight
’s greatest strength lies in the wretched singing and songwriting of Hutchinson. You can criticize his singing all you want: “whiny”, “pitchy”, and “Scottish” have all been thrown around before to describe his acquired vocal style…but the truth is it is his flawed voice that makes the music feel human. Every crack and obvious imperfection just makes The Midnight Organ Fight
even more relatable, and it inspires a personal level of attachment that very few musicians can accomplish to the extent that Frightened Rabbit does on this record. Take “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms” for example. Here we have The Modern Leper’s slightly more subdued counterpart, with a gently swaying chorus of whoa oh
’s and even more candid lyrics than before, if that is possible. Hutchinson’s poignant words hit home especially hard with anyone who has been on the wrong side of a one-way breakup, wailing the line, “I'm not ready to see you this happy…I'm still in love with you (can't admit it yet)
.” It is verses like this that make The Midnight Organ Fight
a beautiful and essential listen for anybody who has ever felt anything
. “Backwards Walk” is another highlight, providing us with a carefully crafted ballad that laments the difficulties associated with erasing pain from one’s life. Lines like, “I’ll get hammered, forget that you exist…there's no way I'm forgetting this
” illustrate the frustration and emptiness of a broken heart with crystal clarity…which is something that The Midnight Organ Fight
does with remarkable frequency.
The Midnight Organ Fight
is pitiful, distraught, angry, and sometimes a combination of all three. The forthright nature of the lyrics brings to life all of the negative emotions associated with love, and a more accurate depiction of heartache may never be unveiled in the world of music. This record is definitely flawed: from the shaky, emotionally wrought vocals all the way down to frank expressions such as, “It takes more than ***ing someone you don’t know to keep warm
.” But in the context of the album’s theme, that actually makes it as close to perfect
as it can be. The Midnight Organ Fight
beckons you to mourn, share your imperfections, and allow yourself to feel human.
You’re not ill and I'm not dead
Doesn't that make us the perfect pair?
Just you and me, we'll start again
And you can tell me all about what you did today