Frightened Rabbit - Liver! Lung! FR! or Quietly Now !

Mark Shields 18/02/2009

Rating: 4/5

Midnight Organ Fight Live And Acoustic At The Captain's Rest

Any band can be put into one of two columns when classifying them - can they play live or are they a studio band? It is on record where the band makes their impact to the mainstream and will be where most bands will be found but in the live arena a band is made or broken by their performances. Can you imagine Oasis without Liam's swaggering hands-behind back vocal delivery? Can you imagine The Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger jumping about like a man possessed? It is a personal preference whether you think a band should deliver on record, live, or both - for me, it is both.

A live album then is a good compromise then, being a recording of a gig that the band has stripped themselves away down to the bare bones, opened themselves up for exploration. Frightened Rabbit's new release, Liver! Lung! Fr! or Quietly Now! (depending on who you believe) is the Scottish next-big-things performing their simply incredible 2008 album live, acoustically, at the Captains Rest in Glasgow.

In last years poll the writers here had to choose their top albums and Frightened Rabbit's Midnight Organ Fight made it to number 10 but was overlooked by you, the readers - the thing is that this live album, literally a live version of that album, probably won't change many peoples minds about the songs. Begin stripped back version of the songs, the emotive, honest and rather winding lyrics are given more prominence in the mix, making the tormented sexed vocal seem more like a confession than the original tongue in cheek nudge-nudge down the pub.

On Backwards Walk, the cries of “You're the shit and I'm knee deep in it” have changed from being jovial, smiley, almost lovingly telling a partner how you adore them to a darker, almost seedy comment on a one night stand. Keep Yourself Warm, the most eyebrow raising song on the original album is bolstered by the addition of Fat Cat stablemates, and another one of the new Scottish gentry, The Twilight Sad's James Graham to which the song descends into a violent downward spiral of almost despair and loss, giving in to the fact that you know what you are doing is desperate. It is on Poke where it all makes sense, everything comes together and the harmonies collapse in on themselves, where the live part of the album suddenly comes into focus and why we needed to hear these versions of the songs.

The album is then a good take on the songs and a very good record. It proves that the band is one of the most dynamic bands in the UK at the moment, being able to take their songs back to a simple guitar and vocals position and they don't loose their power, but gain more emotion and more force from being more restrained. Fat Cat have some of the best new Scottish bands around - Frightened Rabbit, Twilight Sad and new signings and Mark Shields' big tip for the coming years, We Were Promised Jet Packs. For fans of the band this is essential, for those intrigued by the hype you could have a worse introduction, but those who don't get it, I don't think this will change your mind but remember this; god damn, it is a truly great record.

Release date: 30/03/09