June 7, 2008

but there’s no way I’m forgetting this

Frightened Rabbit are four guys from Selkirk, Scotland who have created an evisceratingly gorgeous album primarily tracing the death of a relationship — the back and forth, the moments of confident strength followed by the ravaging weakness. Released in April, their sophomore album Midnight Organ Fight was recorded last year at the Connecticut home studios of Peter Katis (longtime producer of The National).

This is an album full of incredibly visceral lyrics, some of the most excoriating for me since, well, The National. The album opens with “The Modern Leper,” wherein a damaged person laments how “vital parts fall from his system and dissolve in Scottish rain / vitally he doesn’t miss them he’s too fucked up to care.”

As our protagonist, songwriter and frontman Scott Hutchison, fights his way through the final death-rattle gasps of a love affair, the themes are of unflinching self-flagellation (“Well 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“) and fragile introspection (“I crippled your heart a hundred times and still can’t work out why / You see I’ve got this disease I can’t shake and I’m just rattling through life“).

It’s not an album for the fainthearted, but an excellent one for the honest. “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms” is a simple examination of how she won’t need his (bad arms) now that she’s found another pair — although he tosses off a line to the new happy couple that he’s armed with the past, and the will, and a brick, and says “I might not want you back, but I want to kill him.”

The somewhat clunky album title analogy about a ‘midnight organ fight’ makes perfect sense once you hear those words repeated in the raw desire of “Fast Blood,” which goes on to remember: “I tremble, because this stumble has become biblical. I feel like I just died twice and was reborn again for all our dirty sins / And the fast blood, fast blood, fast blood hurricanes through me, and rips my roof away.”

But the primary song which I can’t shake from scrolling through my head on repeat is “My Backwards Walk” — one that grapples with failure, in full. Decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. It is very highly recommended.

My Backwards Walk – Frightened Rabbit

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
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 will draw until I get one right
it’s bold and dark, girl, can’t you see
I’ve done drawn a line between you and me

I’m working on erasing you
but I just don’t have the proper tools
I will get hammered, forget that you exist
but there’s no way I’m forgetting this

I’m working hard on walking out
but my shoes keep sticking to the ground
my clothes won’t let me close the door
‘cause my trousers seem to love your floor

I’ve been working on my backwards walk
‘cause 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

WATCH: My first introduction to these guys was from Kevin on the So Much Silence blog, when he posted this live video of them covering a bit of The National’s “Fake Empire” at the beginning of “My Backwards Walk.”

TOUR: Frightened Rabbit is currently out with the French Kicks, and you can bet I’ll be seeing them in Denver next weekend with Oxford Collapse.

BUY: The Midnight Organ Fight (Amazon US) / Or from Fat Cat Records UK

UPDATE: Frightened Rabbit interview here


  • I’ve been hovering around the idea of getting into Frightened Rabbit for a while. This song, and this post (particularly with the mention of The National, always certain to score points with me) has made up my mind.

    Thank you!

    insomnius — June 7, 2008 @ 6:28 pm

  • oh yes, My Backwards Walk is definitely my favourite, too. (I only have a few songs, but still.) I think it’s the starting line, about how hard it is for him to leave that gets me. those first few lines are so beautiful.

    danae — June 8, 2008 @ 6:59 am

  • re: The National. One area that I also see wonderful similarities is that the Frightened Rabbit disc is very percussively strong and varied, like, say, Alligator. They are very different bands, to be sure, but I really heard that in the drumming, that thunderous, creative percussion.

    Good choice as usual, Heather.

    Anonymous — June 8, 2008 @ 8:01 am

  • Once again, you rule. Thanks for this! I only wish they were visiting north of the border.

    HCJoel — June 8, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  • I grabbed this from eMusic at the end of April and have been very, very glad I did. One of the albums of the year so far.

    Justin — June 8, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

  • Great post, awesome album. Can’t wait to see them in Phoenix

    Kevin — June 9, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  • yep, they’re brilliant. grabbed them from emusic a couple of months back as well, and am still listening regularly. :)

    Chad — June 9, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  • Seriously Heather… I’m thinking we have some major similarities in music tastes going on. I linked to my post about these guys in my URL :)

    Burgo — June 9, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

  • thank you so much for introducing me to them! i really, really love that last line of my backwards walk! “you’re the shit and I’m knee-deep in it.”
    how cool is that? actually i kinda love that whole album by now. hopefully they’ll come touring around europe sometime soon. guess they’re quite fun to see perform.

    Anika — June 18, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  • Good Job! :)

    Carlo — June 27, 2008 @ 1:05 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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