Glasgow band shoots for the back row on sophomore release
Having already demonstrated their rough-around-the-edges charm with its frantic 2007 debut, Frightened Rabbit is just about the last band you’d expect would aspire to arena-sized rock anthems. That they can pull this off while retaining their homespun aesthetic is remarkable, as Midnight Organ Fight startles with its heartfelt directness and sing-along immediacy. The album is singularly focused yet emotionally visceral, refining and sharpening the band’s rousing sprawl. Vocalist/guitarist Scott Hutchison writes songs that tread the fine line between overwrought emoting and startling self-revelation, his wounded Scottish yelp perfectly suited for the unflinching accounts of joyless sex and religious apostasy. Sonically, the differences are small but penetrating, the band using a similarly straightforward palette of dexterous drumming, reverb-heavy electric guitar and homey acoustics. But, this time, Frightened Rabbit favors major-key immediacy over melancholy inhibition. It’s a familiar template, but few bands do so well making songs built for arenas sound like they also belong in bedrooms.