Frightened Rabbit, My Latest Novel

Helen Newbery 09/12/2008

Greenock's My Latest Novel seem to have been suffering somewhat of late from 'bridesmaid syndrome', in that they seem to have been around forever without making that next leap. On the basis of tonight's performance they may yet get to be the bride, with their poppy harmonies and effective changes of tempo. It's as darkly affecting lyricists, however, that they really stand out: My heart melts like metal and then sinks to my core. The one enduring mystery about them, however, is why the Deveney Brothers don't swap places, as it's guitarist Gary who has the strongest voice and yet is relegated largely to backing vocals.

There is no question, however, who the audience in the Liquid Room is here to see, and tonight's gig in Edinburgh is as close to a home crowd as the boys from Selkirk in the Borders are likely to get. 2008 has been quite a year for Frightened Rabbit: relentless touring, both in their own right and supporting bands such as Death Cab For Cutie and Biffy Clyro, has seen them expand their fanbase and go from local heroes to indie darlings. It has also seen the release of second album The Midnight Organ Fight, which has found its way onto a number of best-of end-of-year lists, not least here at And this constant touring has obviously paid off, as tonight's band are a slick operation. Frontman Scott Hutchison alternates between controlled intensity and unfettered release, underpinned throughout by the manic energy of drummer Grant Hutchison. Scott makes for an affable host, engaging in endearing banter with the crowd: 'Maybe Edinburgh's not so shite after all,' he quips. It's a sign of the goodwill they have built up by this point in the evening that they get away with this wee dig, and others like it.

Tonight's set showcases the sheer quality of their song writing. Each song is a parable for our times, and although many of the lyrics have a Scottish sensibility, their stories of drunken nights and relationship breakdowns are universal. There's a searing honesty to their lyrics: I'm drunk / and you're probably on pills. Set highlights include the stronger tracks from The Midnight Organ Fight, such as the outstanding Fast Blood, although the crowd reaction is probably most audible for Head Rolls Off. For this song, as in practically every other in the set, the audience are singing along to every word. Crucially, however, there is a similarly rapturous reception to lesser-played and older tracks such as Snake and the seasonal (if less than cheery) It's Christmas So We'll Stop. As the encore draws to a close, the normally staid Edinburgh audience is still singing It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm into the appropriately icy night.