Midnight Organ Fight, the second studio outing from Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit, is actually the group's first proper album, as 2006's engaging yet slight Sing the Greys consisted largely of demos. Retaining its predecessor's raw, nervy center while introducing elements of proper, arena-fueled grandiosity, due in large part to the band's fiery performances but also to some deft knob-twiddling from Interpol and the National producer Peter Katis, the 14-track collection is essentially a breakup album, but one that, despite its brutal and frankly disseminated subject matter, is so musically uplifting and emotionally charged that it manages to inspire, even at its most venomous. Lead singer/songwriter Scott Hutchison's poetic yet primal ("Snake hips/Red city kiss/And your black eyes roll back") wordplay and coiled and wavering tenor, the latter of which falls somewhere between the terminally oppressed bleat of Robert Smith and the ardent muscularity of fellow countrymen Big Country's Stuart Adamson, leads the charge on standout cuts like "The Modern Leper," "Fast Blood," and "The Twist," trying desperately to bend what's already been broken back into shape while simultaneously stomping it to bits. Even the album's lone non-breakup song, the propulsive, theism-baiting "Head Rolls Off" ("Jesus is just a Spanish boy's name/How come one man got so much fame?) manages to feel like it's trying to pick a fight and buy you a drink at the same time, a notion that pretty much sums up the remarkably beautiful and brazen Midnight Organ Fight to a T.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger