- 20 Jan 23
A giant leap beyond post-punk.
Three years on from their critically acclaimed debut album When I Have Fears, The Murder Capital return – and it's in vibrant Technicolour. Never mind an evolution from that LP, on single ‘A Thousand Lives’ alone, the band traverse wonderfully diverse sonic terrain.
Across Diarmuid Brennan’s slick drum and bass percussion, James McGovern channels a Jim Morrison LA Woman-era accusatory love poem to the city at night, the canvas flecked with wonderful guitar licks and ingenious effects – utterly enthralling.
Rather than adding clutter, Grammy-winning producer John Congleton astutely subtracts elements to superb effect – the band entering and exiting at different times, creating space for McGovern to paint his stark and compelling vision. He’s a post-apocalyptic Sinatra on ‘Crying’, and Meat Is Murder-era Morrissey on ‘Return My Head’. The latter provides a fitting mantra for the entire record – “I had to realign, to begin, to survive.”
How? By leaving post-punk Dublin behind,and wandering across Donegal, Wexford, London and Paris, to mint the record. ‘The Lie Becomes The Self’ is a genius kiss-off to TMC Mark I, with the band evolving into a Radiohead-type beast.
On ‘The Stars Will Leave Their Stage’ arcade synths offer a marvellous counterpoint to McGovern’s cheroot-seared vocal – and they're layered over tub-thumping industrial drums and wondrously inventive, Eastern-singed guitars.
Riddles abound on this conceptual yet enigmatic record, which rolls in on ‘Existence’ and rolls out on ‘Exist’ – none bigger than leaving the listener to answer the question: who is Gigi? The comparison to Radiohead is not far off the money. ‘Belonging’ is more than a little reminiscent of the Oxford legends, while the anguished and puzzling ‘Ethel’ is a giant leap from a band who were already on fire.
This is killer stuff from The Murder Capital. If there's any justice, it should be huge.
Out today via Human Season Records.
Read our cover interview with The Murder Capital in our brand new #HotFor2023 issue, out now.