Murder By Death “Big Dark Love”
Murder by Death is a name we recognise but have not actually ever heard any of their albums. Which is a surprise given that this album comes after a formidable nearly 15 year career. This is actually their seventh album and given it is on the brilliant Bloodshot label and is offering up a rootsy indie rock sound it should be a good one. So don’t let the name put you off.. It’s not some death metal band!
This is quickly demonstrated by opening track, “I Shot An Arrow” which is a really great quirky pop/Americana hybrid. It’s like a more straightforward Blitzen Trapper and it helps to allow the album to immediately capture the listener. Likewise, “Strange Eyes” has an appealing organ opening before developing into a catchy peak.
The title track “Big Dark Love” is a slower, more brooding number which raises the intensity on the album. Songs like this and “Dream In Red” have an almost claustrophobic effect, really surrounding the listener. In contrast, “Solitary One” with the addition of horns and strings has a much bigger and open sound. They also deliver a great, uplifting song on “Last Thing” where the banjo is added to give an upbeat country twang to the track. The peak of the album, however, is “Natural Pearl” which is a brilliant number that chugs along like a kind of country/rockabilly song.
A strong contender for a single must be “It Will Never Die” which has the potential to be a huge hit as it has a Mumford & Sons feel to it. It is a catchy song which you could see just being a surprise hit…let’s hope so! The album then concludes with “Hunted” which sounds like a song that should be the backdrop to an old fashioned, guns at dawn, western shoot out.
As a first introduction, for us at least, to Murder By Death, this album is a damn impressive start. It’s fair to say that the whole Americana/folk rock scene is getting a bit over crowded these days. However, Murder By Death have something unique about them which makes them stand out in this busy crowd. Many of the songs on the album just have a different twist that ensures that they never become run of the mill. It is that diversity which ensures that the listener is eagerly awaiting the next song. Then when it’s finished you will want to go right back to the beginning and start all over again (or go out and buy another Murder By Death Album!).