The Murder Capital took their time over the follow-up to their debut, When I Have Fears, three and a half years have now elapsed since then. Based on this follow-up, the time was spent well as this album shows significant progression from the debut. This time, they have dialled down the instrumentation, making it a little sparser, allowing singer James McGovern’s voice to take centre stage.
There are highlights right through the album. After a brief opener, Crying groans gently into view with low keyboard swells building up gradually before the track explodes into a deeply passionate, post-punk track. Ethel is built on a strummed electric guitar and moves into a goth direction, with tolling bells et al. The glacially paced Belonging has an atmosphere that can only be described as mopey (in a good way!) and its twinkling keyboards call to mind the quietest moments of Depeche Mode. The quality is maintained as the album progresses, The Lie Becomes The Self, is a wonderful piece of chamber pop along the lines of Tindersticks or The Apartments. Later, the creeping keyboards of A Thousand Lives evoke Radiohead, but the inventive guitar work brings it in a different direction. The album culminates with the gloriously moody jangly guitars of the title track.
An album that suits the time of year. Yes, it is relentlessly downbeat but the smart, intelligent music contained within shows there’s life in the post-punk beast yet!
A Thousand Lives