Jan 25, 2023
By Lee Campbell
Dublin post-punk quintet The Murder Capital are back with an exhilarating second record. Unlike their 2019 debut album, When I Have Fears, which was conceived in a matter of months, the follow-up, produced by John Congleton, has had a much longer gestation period of almost two years.
Fresh from being announced to the Coachella line-up, 2023 feels like the year that The Murder Capital could reach that magical tipping point. The performance will be the pinnacle of a 13-date tour of North America this spring. Their first foray into the U.S. was cut short in early 2020 after the pandemic started to break.
The band’s ascension is part of the burgeoning, guitar-fuelled explosion in Ireland with the likes of Belfast’s New Pagans and Dublin’s Fontaines D.C. In fact, The Murder Capital opened for Fontaines D.C. in one of their very early gigs. They may be cut from a similar cloth, however The Murder Capital’s lead singer James McGovern does not quite have the full-on Irish lilt of Fontaines frontman Grian Chatten. Guitarists Cathal Roper and Damien Tuit maintain a steady pace on the record without sonically overreaching.
Latest single “Return My Head” is two minutes and forty-five seconds of sublime energy with the drumming of Diarmuid Brennan at its anthemic core. You just know that this song is going to be a moment of euphoria in their live set. The accompanying video was directed by bass player Gabriel Paschal Blake.
There are also fragments of Julian Casablancas (“Ethel”) and Trent Reznor (“The Stars Will Leave Their Stage”) nicely tucked away in this record. A tribal bassline opens the brilliant “The Lie Becomes The Self,” a musical journey inwards about societal conditioning, deceit, and discovery—“There in the gutter, starlight, we find ourselves complete/Standing at the foot of your mirror, a clown’s reflection and I am revealed.”
Despite the band having clear influences from New York City’s musical underbelly of the early 2000s, The Murder Capital are driving forward bringing their own flavor of youth and urban, Irish grit to this record. Gigi’s Recovery at times feels eerie and unsettling yet consistently and completely alluring. (www.themurdercapital.com)
Author rating: 8.5/10
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