Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: Murder by Death, Good Morning, Magpie

Murder by Death
Good Morning, Magpie

I’m just going to go ahead and say it: for the majority of this album, I was confused. Plain and simple. Murder By Death – which, by the way, is an incredibly terrible name, but that’s another discussion entirely – has produced a record with so many genre influences it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. The introduction, a thirty-four second bit espousing someone’s love of “sweet Kentucky bourbon,” calls to mind the image of smoky saloons and grizzled old men strumming away on their guitars. When the song that follows immediately after is essentially an ode to the wonders of whiskey, the album is starting to look like an alt-country one that moves its way through my great-grandfather’s liquor cabinet. But oh, how wrong that assumption would be. From that point onward, the band introduces horns, harps, and an electric cello, of all things, with the only apparent goal being confusing the hell out of anyone listening. Sometimes Good Morning, Magpie leans toward a sound that would be wildly applauded at stops along Warped Tour, sometimes it walks the fine line between rock and metal. 

I don’t know if the band is having an identity crisis at all, but at this point I kind of am. That’s not to say that the album is entirely unpleasant. Guitarist Adam Turla’s voice is difficult to describe – a strangely attractive crooning that sounds as if he’s seen everything the world has to offer, twice. The sense of world-weariness makes tracks like “King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs” and “Foxglove” a welcome respite from the scattered nature of the rest of the album.

That being said, Murder By Death is neither a band to write off entirely nor the next band that will land a spot on your heavy rotation. If they can figure out some kind of coherent identity within their music, however, they do have a shot at producing something a little better than the all-over-the-place mess that is Good Morning, Magpie.
P.S. If you’re looking for a laugh, swing by their Wikipedia page. Not only are their album names all equally terrible, but the attempt to narrow down their genre is amusing. Actually, the entire page is amusing. Just go.

Tolerable Songs: “King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs” and “Foxglove”
Overall Grade: C

-- Emily Simpson
"Don’t You Wish We Were NPR?" Mondays 8-10 am on WGTB


Catherine said...

"the album is starting to look like an alt-country one that moves its way through my great-grandfather’s liquor cabinet."

That sounds like the best concept album ever.

Anonymous said...

Is this album like an exorcist,but with more break dancing?

Mudrder by Death's Wiki