Frightened Rabbit - Liver! Lung! FR!
The ‘Live’ album can be something of a ‘black sheep’ in many bands back catalogues; used suspiciously for contract obligations, to bolster earnings or to capitalize on a recent tour. A friend of mine once dubbed them ‘marmite releases’, some love and cherish them, others groan and moan at their very mention. I’m not quite sure where I stand on them. Some days I like marmite, other days I find myself just not fancying it at all. Obviously there are exceptions to the marmite rule, albums that shake free of the ‘live’ tag and quite simply become great records. The Who did it with ‘Live at Leeds’, Johnny Cash with ‘Live at San Quentin’, MC5 with ‘Kick Out The Jams’ and Nirvana joined the blessed few with ‘MTV Unplugged in New York.’ Most ‘live’ albums however, tend to be friends of the mega fans and armchair Pink Floyd fans who ‘quite simply couldn’t travel back from Earls Court at that time of night.’
Frightened Rabbit were formed by brothers Scott and Grant Hutchison and released their 1st album ‘Sing The Greys’ in 2006. This was followed by last years masterpiece ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’, an astonishingly good album that like many others managed to slip underneath the general radar of the record buying public. During last years mammoth tour schedule that saw the band support Death Cab for Cutie and Biffy Clyro, ‘Liver! Lung! FR!’ Was recorded at the intimate Captains Rest in Glasgow. The result is an album that will not only appeal to fans of the band but also works as a solid introduction to the magic and brilliance of Frightened Rabbit.
‘Liver! Lung! FR!’ Is essentially a live version of ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ minus the two musical interludes ‘Bright Pink Bookmark’ and ‘Extrasupervery.’ Stripped down to a more acoustic sound the band sound tight and confident, songs like the ‘The Modern Leper’ and ‘Head Rolls Off’ manage to sound delicate and soaring at the same time. The haunting melodies of ‘Good Arms Vs Bad Arms’ punctuate the air, swirling perfectly with the acoustic guitars and shuffling drums. ‘Fast Blood’ is Snow Patrol without the over blown production, ‘The Twist’ builds beautifully with its nagging piano refrain underpinning the guitars and chimes; most bands would kill for songs this good yet Frightened Rabbit manage to make it all sound so simple and effortless. ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ sees James Graham from The Twilight Sad guest on backing vocals lifting the track and highlighting the vocals that shimmer with honesty and passion; a definite crowd favourite and highlight from ‘The Midnight Organ Fight.’ Make no mistake, Frightened Rabbit have played an absolute blinder here and it leaves me counting down the days until they tour the UK in March and April.
For fans of the band this record is essential. For owners of their previous albums this record is essential. For anyone looking to discover a brilliant and inventive band this record is essential. For armchair Pink Floyd fans this record will just confuse you, there is no guitar solo’s and its only as long as one of Floyds tracks. Forget it’s a live album, forget disappointing purchases in the past and forget marmite; buy this album and just as importantly buy ‘The Midnight Organ Fight.’ It’s 2009, China have the year of the ox, let us have the year of the Frightened Rabbit.