This live release from Scottish four-piece Frightened Rabbit captures a July 2008performance, in what sound like the fairly intimate and friendlysurroundings of The Captain’s Rest in Glasgow. It is pretty much astraight, mainly acoustic, rendition of their well-received second album TheMidnight Organ Fight, with only two tracks omitted (the instrumental BrightPink Bookmark and Extrasupervery).
As a stop-gap until their next full-length appears (slated for some timethis year), this is undoubtedly going to be a fan-pleaser. The songs lose none of their intensity in this format, with theheart-on-sleeve likes of Backwards Walk and Poke still containing a strongemotional kick. They manage to be both melancholy yetstrangely uplifting all at the same time; singing about serious subjectslike the contemplation of suicide (Floating In The Forth) or religiousdoubts and scepticism (Heads Roll Off) but still managing to create apositive, sometimes even joyful, response in the listener.
As befits a band who make good use (but not overuse) of sweary lyrics(The Modern Leper, I Feel Better, Keep Yourself Warm), a small amount of thehumorously sweary between-song banter has been included. This sustains the”live” feel of the recording, but doesn’t particularly add much else ofgreat interest, apart from the bits where they helpfully introduce guestmandolin player Ross Clark, on Old Old Fashioned, and The TwilightSad‘s James Graham, who adds guest vocals to Keep Yourself Warm,contributing to what is a highly affecting rendition.
Lead singer Scott Hutchison’s vocal falters a little on I Feel Better,sounding slightly weedy in places, and The Twist sometimes errs more on theside of monotonous than sombre, but these are minor gripes. Thisstripped-down and intimate setting allows the well-crafted, lyricallycomplex and emotionally at times pretty raw songs to shine through.
Anyone already in love with tracks such as Good Arms Vs Bad Arms,Backwards Walk and Poke will probably enjoy hearing these live versions, andfor others this will serve as a good primer and incentive to go back anddiscover the original recorded versions.