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Midnight Organ Fight

Album artwork for Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit

Maybe it was fate I discovered Midnight Organ Fight after leaving the safety of a long-term relationship, while crawling through the gauntlet of online dating. Either way, it made it much more visceral for me. Midnight Organ Fight—a humorous euphemism for sex—is very much front-man Scott Hutchison’s album. It's a cathartic journey through the turmoil of his heartbreak.

I feel much Better And Better And Worse And then Better
Scott Hutchison. Photo by Frank Hoensch / Redferns
Scott Hutchison. Photo by Frank Hoensch / Redferns

In place of self-pity is a refreshingly Scottish attitude to misery-wallowing—“And I'm just rattling through life. Well, this is how we do things now, yeah”. And so Hutchison rattles through the emotional pandemic of the 21st century—from feelings of inadequacy in “Poke”; the loneliness of “The Twist”; to the throw-away alcohol-sex of “Fast Blood”. This is a true-to-form example of exquisite music written in times of heightened emotional state.

It may all seem hopeless, but there is much optimism to be found, and the progressiveness of the music makes it feel like we’re on Scott’s journey with him. I've been trying to figure out why I love this album so much—I think it's the tension between Scott's lyrical desolation and the defiant guitar thumps.

Frightened Rabbit never quite recaptured the magic of this album until they shifted forms, launching their side project “Mastersystem” in 2018—which turned out to be Scott Hutchison's last album. It's no surprise listening to the lyrics.

This is the longest kiss—Good night

Midnight Organ Fight is a weirdly backwards posthumous romance. On the track “Floating in the Forth” Scott foretells his own suicide—“Fully clothed, I float away. Down the Forth, into the sea”. This was originally written as an optimistic song; how Scott overcame suicidal thoughts to continue living life. Well, in a cruel twist of fate, it turns out “Floating in the Forth” is exactly how he was discovered 12 years later. There are plenty more harrowing lyrics in that song.

But even with its bittersweet legacy, I still enjoy listening to Floating in the Forth—and this album—for its underlying message of hope and honesty.

The perfect encapsulation of 21st-century heartbreak, this is my favourite album. Scott Hutchison’s broken lyrics are squeezed through upbeat indie.