In the wake of Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison’s tragic passing early last year, one lyric stood out, and has formed the mantra he left behind. Taken from ‘Head Rolls Off’, a highlight from the band’s breakout 2008 album ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’, the line goes: “While I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to earth.”
In the time leading up to his death, and with the band playing the album in full around the UK and US on a 10th anniversary tour, ideas came together for a covers album to celebrate the record. The final product, ‘Tiny Changes’, is a cast-iron confirmation of the impact Scott and his band had on the music world at large, and of the tiny changes they made to so many.
Musically, the contributors take the songs from ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ in many different directions. ‘Old Old Fashioned’ is given an unlikely bluegrass makeover courtesy of Josh Ritter, while Biffy Clyro’s version of ‘The Modern Leper’ twists and turns through acoustic shuffles and hammer blows of dirty guitars, channelling every drop of Scott’s infectious energy and passion.
This passion is what defined Frightened Rabbit, and it defines ‘Tiny Changes’ too. Whether it’s Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard adding the appropriate amount of grandeur to ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ or Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry and The National’s Aaron Dessner taking on the short-and-creepily-sweet ‘Who’d Kill You Now?’, every song taken on here is delivered with a rumbling fire in the belly.
Album closer ‘Floating In The Forth’, a song that’s inarguably become the most difficult for Frightened Rabbit fans to stomach over the last year, given that its subject matter of suicide and finding peace beneath Edinburgh’s Forth Road Bridge became so tragically true, is taken on by The Twilight Sad, the band Frightened Rabbit grew up alongside. In this context, they’re the safest and most worthy pair of hands you could hope for for the song.
The booming, caring tones of frontman James Graham inevitably incite a few wobbly tear ducts, but even more solidarity and hope in the legacy that Scott left behind, and that’s the overwhelming feeling left from ‘Tiny Changes’, a truly special tribute to a wonderful songwriter.