The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears – Album Review
by Killian Laher
In a year where the Irish music scene has abounded with excellent guitar bands, The Murder Capital unleash their debut on a tidal wave of hype. Preconceptions are plentiful with this band, from their name to the shroud-wearing pair on the front cover. But what’s important here is the music. On the first few listens it sounds like unremarkable post-punk, all choppy guitars, prominent basslines, rattling percussion and foreboding vocals. But then you realise these elements coalesce into some excellent music. The barrelling opener For Everything sets their stall out, impassioned vocals over ringing guitars with sporadic bursts of intensity. Ian Curtis comparisons will certainly rear their head, but singer James McGovern’s vocals on More Is Less are far from this as he roars over and over “MORE MORE MORE”.
Green & Blue and the two part Slowdance represent the emotional heart of the album. With a rumbling, steady sound reminiscent of Faith-era Cure, Green & Blue drifts through over a stately bassline punctuated with urgent stabs of guitar. Slowdance I plods along excellently, probably the most brooding, Joy Division-like track here, along with its instrumental sister Slowdance II. This latter track increases its intensity gradually towards a manic climax, before the instruments fall away, leaving only a cello. On Twisted Ground has the sparse, spooked-out quality of the xx, McGovern lamenting “you could’ve watched it all” over a subdued bassline.
Feeling Fades and Don’t Cling To Life up the tempo at just the right point on the album. The former is a highly impressive, pacy rumble, while the latter is one of the few poppy moments here, albeit a very desperate, frantic-sounding pop song. The only slight misstep is the mumbled piano ballad How The Streets Adore Me Now. There’s not a lot wrong with it, it just doesn’t gel with the rest of the album.
It’s neither hugely original nor distinctive. But it’s a bloody good listen, one which will come into its own as the evenings arrive earlier and stay for longer. It gets better with each listen and will surely trouble the end of year lists.
Track List –
1. For Everything
2. More Is Less
3. Green & Blue
4. Slowdance I
5. Slowdance II
6. On Twisted Ground
7. Feeling Fades
8. Don’t Cling To Life
9. How The Streets Adore Me Now
10. Love, Love, Love
Green & Blue