Eleven years ago Frightened Rabbit released “The Midnight Organ Fight”, a beautifully released album that put the band in a level all their own and allowing Scott Hutchinson’s lyrics to carry over the years. The honesty carried throughout still stands tall as some of the most brutally honest and raw songwriting you’ll find. In this honesty, many bands took notice helping Frightened Rabbit gain more of an audience while being brought on tour and allowing the bands next few albums gain a ton of popularity, but it always seemed the biggest standout was “The Midnight Organ Fight”. Although the record is drowning in sadness and grief, you can feel Hutchinson’s voice connect with you on some level no matter what mood you are in. He had a way to convey in such unique and beautiful ways. I, being biased and loving this record to the depths of my core, have also read many many interviews and seeing many artists acknowledge the power of this record and showing admiration beyond liking it.
The album had a ten year anniversary and tour last year in 2018 helping celebrate the album as a whole and unfortunately Hutchinson took his life last year as well. Suffering from depression the songwriter and artist was always very much upfront with it, letting Frightened Rabbit become a catharsis and outlet. The sequence, unfortunate in every way, created a ripple effect in the music industry allowing artists who were influenced by, toured with or were close with the band show gratitude for Hutchinson and expressing their craft, a way of not only keeping the band and his name in our mouths, but allowing the said artists to heal and create a memory they have with the band/Hutchinson. A night of performances to celebrate the life of Hutchinson took place in December of 2018, with artists like Ben Gibbard, Julien Baker, Aaron Dessner, Craig Finn, and Kevin Devine. The band announced a reworking and new vision of their definitive record to be released, with covers from Baker, Gibbard, Daughter, Manchester Orchestra, Biffy Clyro and others entitled “Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight'”. With a full cover of the record, all these artists have given their own take musically on the tracks, but allowed the raw emotion Hutchinson’s lyrics shine through and create a beautiful reworking of the album.
Biffy Clyro (who’s cover appears on the front to back play through) and Julien Baker (who’s cover is added along with two more tracks) have the privilege of taking on “Modern Leper” one of the more recognizable tracks and energetic on the record. With Clyro’s energy they create a soundscape that frantically align with the content of the song. Julien Baker’s cover is a standout with her haunting vocals and changing from guitar to piano seamlessly, it creates something truly tragic and beautiful. Oxford Collapse move with a steady pace and heartfelt singing with “I Feel Better”, Fiskur bring a more electronic sound to “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms” which is so known for being a folky tune, creating a new version while paying homage to their original. Right on Dynamite tackle “Fast Blood” with energetic grace and passion. Josh Ritter is next up with “Old Old Fashioned” which he brings a twangy/bluegrass sound to the track that fits amazingly perfect. That is an obvious theme with the reworking of midnight organ fight, not only are the artists strong with their covers, but bringing a new sound to each track, allowing the “tiny changes” album not only flow with excellence, but each track is a standalone beaut.
Wintersleep (although from Canada) give “The Twist” a Scottish sounding vocal performance keeping with an indie/folk vibe, and Piano Bar Fight take on the tracks as well allowing their style to only enhance Huchtinson’s lyrics. A more pop/synth sound is brought to Bright Pink Bookmark from “The Philistines Jr.” “Heads Roll Off” feels very much off the original album with Craig Finn giving a more traditional cover. “My Backwards Walk” which also gets two covers, is beautifully arranged with Harkin and Sarah Silverman taking the front to back track and Manchester Orchestra taking it on as one of the other added tracks. Both equally emotional and raw, one of my favorite songs is done complete justice. Ben Gibbard gives his delicate vocals to a more raw song in “Keep Yourself Warm”, Inletts covering “Extrasupervery”, The Twlight Sad taking on “Floating In The Forth” and Aaraon Dessner & Lauren Mayberry with “Who’d You Kill Now” allow balanced and emotional covers that not only feel unique but true to the artists style. Daughter take on “Poke” which is another standout track, creating a uniquely “Daughter” song, and allowing Huthcinson’s vocals to carry through with its same emotional and raw power as the original.
For fans of frightened rabbit, you will love this reworking/covers album, for any fan of any band covering a song on the album you will love this. It’s hard to find any fault in this record, the emotion and uniqueness captured with this reworking of the album, is exactly what opened the door for the band and created such a memorable experience for the band and listener. This album stands tall as a tribute to Huchinson and the band’s work eleven years ago.