Frightened Rabbit
Tiny Changes


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
July 12th, 2019 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There's nowhere else for me to go except back to you, just one last time

The tragedy of Scott Hutchison’s suicide is one that still hasn’t completely registered with me. At the time, the news almost didn’t feel real. Maybe it was because he vanished in identical fashion to the lyrics from The Midnight Organ Fight’s ‘Floating in the Forth’, or perhaps it was merely denial on my end. As ”Scott Hutchison Missing” was plastered across various news headlines, there was an unshakably ill vibe to the entire thing; it was as if we all knew what we were about to find out, even if nobody wanted to admit it. When his body turned up in Port Edgar, that intuition was confirmed – and ever since, it’s been painful to listen to Hutchison’s work, especially his emotional 2008 magnum opus.

What’s wonderful about Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ is that it feels less like a funeral and more like a celebration of life. We have just shy of twenty artists – some of whom were friends, and others who drew inspiration – gathered around to reimagine and recreate his dearest project. While there’s nothing here that should be prioritized over Scott’s originals, they all seem in their own way like worthy tributes to what this album meant to his contemporaries, fans, friends, and family – subsets that ultimately overlapped more than Hutchison was probably ever aware.

Tiny Changes is an emotive listen start to end, especially if you already know the album by heart (if you’ve never heard The Midnight Organ Fight then by all means, start there), and contains several thrillingly imaginative takes on the classics we know. We’re graced with two versions of ‘The Modern Leper’, from Biffy Clyro’s propulsive rocker – which is more entertaining – to Julien Baker’s forlorn ballad, which feels more raw and honest. Manchester Orchestra continues their trend of turning everything they touch into gold with their highly emotional take on ‘My Backwards Walk’, while Craig Finn’s ‘Head Rolls Off’ feels like the most mature and stately cover. In reality though, the highlights of Tiny Changes are more comprehensive that individual. The emotional release that comes from seeing artists like Craig Finn, Julien Baker, Manchester Orchestra, The Twilight Sad, Benjamin Gibbard, Aaron Dessner, and Biffy Clyro (plus many more) come together to celebrate The Midnight Organ Fight – as well as figuratively pay their respects to Hutchison – is both beautiful and tragic. Maybe somewhere, somehow, he’s smiling at this – and that’s what Tiny Changes really means. It’s less about critiquing covers against their original counterparts, and more about appreciating this as a moment. Hutchison affected and influenced so many people thanks in large part to this album, and here that same community unites to hold a vigil in his honor. What a fitting homage to a legend of modern indie folk.




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user ratings (34)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
bgillesp
July 12th 2019


7022 Comments


Conflicted but I will check this. Nice writeup

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 12th 2019


31506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm getting really sick of soundcloud only allowing 30 second clips...like you're already barely relevant, why make it harder on users?

Anyway, this obviously isn't as good as the original and never could be, nor was it trying to be. It's a fitting salute to Scott and this album, though.

Digging: Sum 41 - Order In Decline

anatelier
July 12th 2019


2824 Comments


Nice little write-up, Sow.

It's perhaps worth mentioning that this materialised prior to Scott's passing, and so he actively had a hand in it.

The physical copies come with a booklet with handwritten notes from all the artists, and I particularly liked this from MO's Andy Hull:

"I remember distinctly where I was the first time I heard "My Backwards Walk". I was sitting in my friend's car who had been begging me to listen to this album. I remember feeling overwhelmed and a little angry at how incredible this song and album were. I felt a connection to the songs as if Scott was saying what I wanted to say but in a different and brilliant way. I suppose that's what a truly great song is. It makes the listener feel like it's personally for them but all the while it is reaching far and wide and causing a vast amount of personal connection. Scott, whether on purpose or not, was a master of reaching folks with his words. Myself included. I looked forward to everything the man had to say. When he asked me to choose a song from TMOF I was scared I was going to screw it up but was equally thrilled "My Backwards Walk" was still available. I taped the lyrics to the vocal booth wall while recording and they are going to stay there until we have another vocal booth in another studio, and so on. They remind me of a lot of things. Heartbreak, of course. But mostly of how words and important and that over the course of six paragraphs or so, you can reach people on a very deep level. Forever. It also makes me miss my friend, who when we submitted the song, was angry that it sounded too good. I'm honored to be a part of this covers album celebrating this incredible band."

And reading that was just as cathartic as the actual album is, because Scott definitely knew that he'd made his tiny changes, and he heard these covers.

I think I'm more caught up in the sentiment than anything else - to know this would have still come out even if Scott never befell his personal tragedy, I think I might have approached it with some annoyance. So I'd rather take it as an obituary even if it wasn't originally intended as such.

And to that end, it doesn't matter that on the Wintersleep cover he sings "did you blush then when our lips touched" instead of "hips", but if Scott was still alive I'd have been fuming...

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 12th 2019


31506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm aware of it and actually had the following prepared, but didn't think it fit organically into the review:

"The interesting thing that a lot of people are likely to overlook is that Tiny Changes was actually meant to be released in 2018 as a ten year anniversary project. Although it has now become something of a tribute to Hutchison, Scott was actually fully involved in the project – and even approved each track that was included. Thus, in effect, this is the last album that will ever have his fingerprints on it, even if he doesn’t actually sing on any of the tracks."

I am with you on preferring the obituary / tribute / homage / community concert type of vibe, so maybe I subconsciously structured the review to read as such.

Either way, I'm glad they didn't rush this out in 2018 just to keep it "a 10 year anniversary" thing; it would have felt like a cash grab whereas this gives listeners time to digest what happened and re-approach the album in a different light.

anatelier
July 12th 2019


2824 Comments


Yeah it really really works this way because I just don't really care whether I like a particular cover or not - I still appreciate the underlying love for Scott.

They did enough with the anniversary TMOF tour - that was really special to be a part of.

nolerthebowler
July 12th 2019


3783 Comments


Isn’t Manchester Orchestra directly involved with this somehow? That’s what their insta says anyway.

anatelier
July 12th 2019


2824 Comments


Check the tracklisting

BigHans
July 12th 2019


30102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My Backwards Walk is one of the best songs ever written.

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 12th 2019


31506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

MO's version here is awesome but I'm an Andy Hull junkie so my opinion is biased. The Julien Baker cover of Modern Leper is possibly the highlight for me. There's a lot of lesser known artists who did right by this thing too, though.

BigHans
July 12th 2019


30102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fast Blood was always my favorite FR song until Scott died, and its now a tie between My Backwards Walk and The Lonliness and the Scream. The day his death was announced, I was blasting FR in the car for my daughter. She had never heard them before, and is now a big fan. The first time she heard The Loneliness and the Scream, you could just tell she was in love with it. RIP hard.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2019


56821 Comments


Julien's Modern Leper is so good

Digging: Me in Capris - For Those Who Think You

BigHans
July 12th 2019


30102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Biffy Clyro cover is tits

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 12th 2019


31506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like both covers, probably slightly prefer the Julien one but the Biffy one is really fun

BigHans
July 12th 2019


30102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good Arms vs Bad Arms cover is total shit. They could have picked something better for arguably the album's most iconic track.

JS19
July 12th 2019


7228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is a perfect write up and exactly how I feel thanks Sowing

Digging: Alarmist - Sequesterer

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 12th 2019


31506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks JS19. I didn't feel it was worth expounding upon every single cover's differences from the originals because this, to me, is just like a community coming together to say let's rock out and pay tribute to a dude we all respected. And there's really no wrong way to do that.

AdolfChrist
July 12th 2019


21620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ill probably end up buying this out of curiosity, even though i havent exactly loved the covers ive heard so far.

Digging: Vulture (DE) - Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 12th 2019


31506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's obviously never gonna live up, Adolf, so personally I bought it just for the keepsake

HarmoniesHollowTrees
July 12th 2019


3 Comments


Perfectly encapsulated my feelings on this. That the differences between the covers and originals don't really matter. It's a cathartic listen to just realize all the tiny changes the music has made to all these people. Another great review Sowing!

BigHans
July 12th 2019


30102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Craig Finn cover is great, maybe I'm a bit biased as I'm Hold Steady fanboy #1, but it works well.



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