PHOTO CREDIT: CLASH/Getty Images
The Murder Capital
ALTHOUGH one should not lump bands together…
IMAGE CREDIT: The Murder Capital
into a particular ‘scene’, it is clear the city of Dublin is producing some of music’s most interesting and appealing bands. It is thrilling seeing these fantastic artists emerge from a part of the world that is not always at the forefront of the media ‘a gaze. With an album, When I Have Fears, out today (make sure you grab a copy), it is the perfect time to throw some light on The Murder Capital. I am not the first (by any means!) to notice these Dublin boys: they have been lauded all over the place and I discovered them whilst listening to Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 6 Music. The band’s new album is terrific and, loathed as I am to match them to city-mates, I do think The Murder Capital and Fontaines D.C. are the finest new bands of the moment. Whilst one wants to distinguish Dublin bands on their own merits, there are some common patches: an honesty and distinct accent that gives the music edge and authenticity; an awareness of their changing city and important issues; a distinct drive and determination that is pleasing indeed. The Murder Capital are aware of how Dublin is shaping up and the fact a lot of older spaces are being replaced by new buildings and hotels. Whilst this does not form the core of their lyrical bent, the band are conscious of the changing skyline and how it is not always a good move – rather than evolution, perhaps it is more about money and attracting as many people to the city as possible.
In essence, I think The Murder Capital are fearful a beautiful city is losing some of its face, distinction and history. Before I continue, I want to bring in a few features about the band; those tipping them for big things. This article in The Guardian from a few months back goers into detail regarding The Murder Capital’s sound and dynamic:
“The band’s mix of businesslike dress and improvised choreography on stage is echoed in their music. Visually and sonically, it’s a thug’s pantomime, delivered with delicacy. It’s never just pure punk noise. Some songs reach back to Joy Division’s drum tattoos, interlocking with surging, wave-break bass. Pixies’ quiet-loud-quiet trick is in there, as are Shame and Savages, while PJ Harvey and the Bad Seeds infest tracks such as Green and Blue. But these are just reference points on a map of their own making. Mostly they thrust forward into the darkness”.
DIY spoke with the bad in the spring and noted how, here, we have a band who want to stick around for a long time to come:
“Despite their fast trajectory, longevity is undoubtedly at the heart of The Murder Capital’s plan. “We knew [‘More Is Less’] was our opening statement, so we did think about what we wanted to say first,” James adds, “but if you’re doing it for any other reason than because you love it, and you’re trying to say something [forced] and connect with people in a certain kind of way, you’ll only get so far.”
Sharing a practice space with Fontaines DC and also taking encouragement from neighbours Girl Band, it’d be easy to lump The Murder Capital into a Dublin ‘scene’. But rather than producing a factory line of carbon copies, the city is instead fostering an inclusive, supportive network that’s spawning fantastic new bands from every corner of the guitar music spectrum. “I remember when Fontaines signed to Partisan,” states James. “I remember feeling a sense of pride for them, and then also it made [the idea of success] so close to home, and a realistic prospect. That’s what the scene is: it’s watching and pushing each other, with a fire under our arse at all times.”
“It’s trying to reach that fucked-up 15 year-old kid at home, alone, and change their perspective on something,” Damien sums up. Bolstered by grit, determination and passion, The Murder Capital’s reach to affect such change is growing by the minute”.
If you can catch them touring later in the year then make sure you grab a ticket as they are a hefty and memorable live proposition. There are a lot of real and gritty bands out at the moment who can match urgency with reflectiveness and tenderness. Maybe it is too early to call the best albums of 2019 but, with every week, something new rocks up that changes my rankings – it is quite a nightmare having to predict but maybe one needs to wait until the end of the year and take it all in.
Reviews are coming in for When I Have Fears. Back Seat Mafia were one of the first to review The Murder Capital’s album and had this to say:
“This album is a deeply emotional expression of hurt and pain: sometimes delivered through an anarchic punk blast such as opening track ‘For Everything’, and sometimes through a layered slowly burning fuse of a track such as ‘On Twisted Ground’. The Murder Capital are as fresh and as creative as any of their peers, up there with fellow compatriots, the stupendous Fontaines DC. Perhaps both bands would get annoyed at constantly being mentioned in the same breath, but the beauty for the audience is that two such talented bands can co-exist at the same time from the same city and ignite the global music scene.
And when the band dials it down, such as on ‘On Twisted Ground’, it shows quite clearly it can dial it down. This is a gorgeous reflective song resting on a chorded bass and the hint of synths and back-tracked guitars and achingly beautiful vocals.
This album is ferocious and beautiful: it has the passion and the energy of classic post punk rock, yet is leavened by a poetic and delicate beauty. Guitars with the architectural build of a city skyscape, a spine of pure thunder and the emotional strength of the vocals that spits out veracity and passion. There is detectable an authenticity that very few bands can muster. The band recounts that the lyrics and even the band’s very name reference the suicide of a close friend: every single one of those lyrics relates back in some way to his death”.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Murder Capital with BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq/PHOTO CREDIT: @BBC6Music
I am seeing so many interesting bands come through now. The scene has been heavy with solo artists the past few years and I think the band market is transforming. Once was the time when there were a lot of generic Indie and Rock bands that sounded alike but, now, we have a much more eclectic and inspiring wave; those who have some real messages (rather than generic hooks and lines) and a real sense of future-potential. The Murder Capital are making a great sound and look set to have a very long and busy career. Given the fact there are so many interesting bands emerging – and quite a fair few from Dublin – how does one sort the wheat from the chaff? The Murder Capital are brimming with personality and wisdom; they are funny and straight-talking and have the tunes to back up the hype. I will end with an interview they gave to Fred Perry where they were asked some very interesting questions:
“Describe your style in three words?
Hungover Cillian Murphy.
If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Francesca Woodman. Her photography has been of great inspiration to both us as individuals and to our writing.
Of all the venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - The decor felt like it had been the same since before Italia ’90. We didn’t know whether the lads in the games room were gonna hug us or cave our heads in with a pool cue.
The Workman’s Club, Dublin - It’s where we cut our teeth. Where discussions and ideas are formed. Where we go to dance to LCD”.
If you have not followed The Murder Capital then do so (links are at the bottom). Here are a Dublin clan who are going to be around for a while and, if you want to discover a band who are striking all the right notes right now, throw your weight behind…
THESE top chaps.
Follow The Murder Capital