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Frightened Rabbit: The Midnight Organ Fight

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"It takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep warm," sings Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison on "Keep Yourself Warm," and it sounds like resignation as well as a grand statement of purpose. It's the emotional apex of the Scottish band's dark, terrific second album, which circles the drain of failed relationships and bad sex—and somehow finds sparks of hope in mountains of crushing hopelessness. (Think a slightly sunnier version of Arab Strap, another pack of dour Scots.) Supposedly inspired by a particularly harsh breakup, The Midnight Organ Fight finds Hutchison longing folkishly for better times (the jangling "Old Old Fashioned"), then considering—but ultimately dismissing—suicide ("Floating In The Forth"). On "Poke," he suggests this method for dealing with a failed relationship: "Should we kick its cunt in / and watch as it dies from bleeding?" It's all dressed in familiar-sounding indie-rock, with bits of Sebadoh, The Long Winters, and early U2 providing the road map. But it's Hutchison's utterly believable desperation and frank lyrics that push the whole thing from good to great. It doesn't make for easy listening, but nothing this flatly honest and powerful ever is.