"Head Rolls Off"
(Grant Hutchinson/Scott Hutchinson/Billy Kennedy/Andy Monaghan)
The Midnight Organ Fight
The Scottish, never known for their sunny, optimistic outlook, seem to produce the dourest of dour bands. There's Belle and Sebastian, memorably described in High Fidelity as "sad bastard music." There's Arab Strap, named after a bondage device and reveling in the depravity of sexual man. And there's Mogwai, who thunder apocalyptically and usually wordlessly.
Add Frightened Rabbit to the list. Here we have the flip side of U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Bono and company sang about the doubts that surrounded a life of faith. But "Head Rolls Off" is about the certainty that surrounds atheism. It's a last-minute report from the guillotine by a man about to lose his life for blasphemy. He doesn't recant, of course, and what he gives us is an elaborate apology for humanism.
To anyone who reads this blog regularly, it will go without saying that I don't share Scott Hutchinson's religious beliefs. But something moves me in the way he sings it with such conviction--far more than Bono ever did. His humanist manifesto horrifies me at the same time it sucks me in. How can a band sound dour and anthemic at the same time?