Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Album Review: Various Artists - Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’

Various Artists
Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ 
** out of *****

Looking back at Glide's Top 50 Albums of the 2000's I am pretty impressed how well it holds up. Working with Shane from the site, we compiled the list and while both of our tastes focus more on the guitar/rock side of things, the list is pretty solid. Are there few albums we missed and would have liked to have swapped out looking back ten years removed? Of course. For cultural importance, Eminem's Marshall Mathers record should have been there (that's on me, I forgot it was recorded in 2000) and Kanye West's Late Registration or Graduation (or both) probably deserved more love. However, the one record that definitely should be on there is Frightened Rabbits The Midnight Organ Fight. It is one of the best albums of the decade and both of us just blanked on it. I think you can slip out Ween's White Pepper and put this directly in the 12th spot for a better list. 

Scott Hutchinson delivered such an intimate portrait of a relationship crumbling with this record it is amazing. He speaks to failing love in a thick Scottish accent but anyone around the world can relate. The music is odd, with instrumentation ranging all over the map and Hutchinson (who at this point was the main creative force in the band) poured his broken soul onto the album.

In general tribute albums tend to underwhelm. While they can make great concerts, and celebrations of the original material, the recordings rarely age well or make any legitimate enhancements on the originals. Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’  has all of those same issues, but it has an extra weight as it was recorded before Scott Hutchinson took his life and while the album was just meant as a ten year celebration among friends, it has taken on added weight with his unexpected death.

That is unfair to the artists here as the record has some moments, but after a few songs you will just want to reach for the original, and on the off chance you haven't heard the original, stop reading and go do that.The original album is a masterclass in confessional songwriting about a relationship gone wrong. The song collected on this tribute record still sound great, but some are too much like the originals and some are experiments that just don't work overall.

The tunes worth hunting out are Wintersleeps "The Twist" with its tense guitars/beat,  Right On Dynamite's clanging/pounding "Fast Blood", Josh Ritter's bluegrass influenced "Old Old Fashioned" and Daughters haunting "Poke" is a powerful rendition of the fantastic tune. RtBE Favorite Craig Finn mixes upbeat folk rock with downer pianos doing his rendition of "Heads Roll Off" resulting in an interesting concoction. 

Julien Baker's dynamic take on "The Modern Leper" soars with her ethereal vocals, buzzing production with piano flourishes and swelling drums/vocals is the best of the bunch. While Hutchinson is no longer with us in person, his songs will live on forever, and The Midnight Organ Fight is his crowning achievement. 
Buy the record, support the charity Tiny Changes, peep some video below:

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