Here we are, coming back for even more of exactly the same, well we must be masochists, to love these modern lepers on their last legs. I’m paraphrasing leadoff track 'The Modern Leper', here, but I think it’s apt. Exactly more of the same brilliantly coiled and conceived lyrics, yes, but the music has changed just a bit. It’s even more powerful on Midnight Organ Fight than it ever was on debut Sing The Greys, Frightened Rabbit have excelled themselves past any notion of what they were capable of musically.This second album is once again released on the excellent Fat Cat Records, home to friends and compatriots of the band, The Twilight Sad. Now the two bands also share a producer, in Peter Katis who did the Sad’s debut, amongst his other notable projects, which include The National, and Interpol. The production for Midnight Organ Fight bears the man’s stamp, whether its a largeness, thunderous drums or a collective sound that is as raw as a new wound.Previously referenced 'The Modern Leper' kicks things off with the typical lyrical brilliance of the band. An actual leper is used as a metaphor for a social leper, “It’s got all the things a cripple has not/Working arms and legs/And vital parts fall from his system/And dissolve in Scottish rain”, or rather it is a person who feels crippled inside. Eventually the narrator reveals the kindred spirit he is singing the song to, they are both broken and through that they are strong together. We see the band’s expansion of sound in this song, a bottle-neck guitar part, choir chanted backing vocals, an organ, rough strummed nylon guitar strings and a colossal drum thud during the chorus, all of which goes to create an anthemic tone that is carried throughout the album. Lap steel, picked and strummed acoustic are the centre of 'Good Arms vs Bad Arms', with skittering drums, backing “Oooohoooh”s and another guitar adding depth. It’s a windswept track that continues with the raw earnestness in sound of the whole album. Lyrics like “Leave the rest at arms length/I’m not ready to see you this happy” indicate the lyrical direction. The next two songs offer a touch of relief with some playful arrangements, 'Old Old Fashioned', sounds like a country/folk hoe-down, with galloping rhythm and what sounds like at least five ukuleles. A deep thudding rhythm on a piano is the spine of 'The Twist', jingling bells, some tension releasing drumming and again light backing vocals with wordless chanting fleshes it out."Jesus is just a Spanish boy’s name/How come one man got so much fame?” is the startlingly brilliant opening of 'Heads Roll Off'. The song is about religion, what comes after death and what that might mean for those of us living, “While I’m alive I’ll make tiny changes to earth”, and all done with humour, “God’s got his dead friends around”. The thing to highlight here, apart from the yearning and euphoria of the music, is the line “While I’m alive I’ll make tiny changes to earth”. This is my favourite moment on the album, the band are almost recklessly opening up, with ideas about striving to make life better for yourself and everyone around you, about having faith in something, and then that faith being a positive thing, it’s an open-armed embrace of humanity. They are cynical, yes, yet their earnest love wins through despite that. 'Backwards Walk' sounds like a middle distance stare on a long train journey. An emotional vocal puts out lines that are looking back on a relationship that has ended, “I’m working on erasing you/I just don’t have the proper tools”. With about 30 seconds to go we get a sudden angular processed drum sound and the cathartic line “You’re the shit/And I’m knee deep in it”, as the track fades away, in a beautiful haze of love, regret and pain. An organ walks up the keyboard slowly, a bass slowly strums, down, down-up-down as 'Keep Yourself Warm' begins. More regret and pain laden lyrics appear, “It takes more than fucking someone/You don’t know to keep warm”. Three quarters through and we get thrashing guitars and an anthemic cathartic release unlike anything the band have ever achieved before.The last, and perhaps best, song of note is 'Floating In The Forth'. A lyrical idea of floating away on the Forth River is used to contrast suicide, and a resolution against suicide. The narrator considers suicide after a relationship ends, but he changes his mind when he is on the brink and the lines, “Fully clothed I’ll float away/Down the forth into the sea/I’ll steer myself through chopping waves” become triumphant, he is now seeing this as an opportunity to move forwards, instead of ending it all. We finally get inspiration and comfort from the narrator at the end, “Take your life/Give it a shake/Gather up/All your loose change/I think I’ll save suicide for another year”.Do the band put messed up relationships and angst on a pedestal? Yes, but it also moves beyond that through the music, euphoric, anthemic, cathartic, you start to own your angst, you are able to shape it into something positive. So, the lyrical angst and musical euphoria are combined to create a shining place where you can both wallow in pain and also rise through it to a happier more resolved state.93%mp3:> Frightened Rabbit: 'The Modern Leper'LinksFrightened Rabbit [official site] [myspace] [interview]