There’s a point in all our lives where fear suddenly hits us; child-like bravery is replaced by that shivering realisation that we are just flesh and bones – that we are fragile. It would seem the older we get; the notion of
morality becomes a louder din in our minds. For the Dublin band, The Murder Capital, their debut record, produced by Flood (PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, Foals) bares the moniker of a group of men that have reached this tipping point: ‘When I Have Fears’. Wrapped in a stark, mechanical post-punk, the five piece explore the notion of love, life, death and despair but with a fist clenched determination. The subject matter may sound macabre but there’s a resilient defiance that populates the Irishmen’s first long-player.
There’s little compromise to ‘When I Have Fears’, even when the machine-like assault is dialled down to an eerie whisper, The Murder Capital’s debut still meanders with a malevolent threat. Meeting fears and turmoil head on is the mantra at the heart of the Dubliner’s primary offering; ‘Don’t Cling To Life’, a tribute to a band member’s mother that passed away during the recording of the album, is a visceral and aggressive rattle, where sparse, precise drums mangle around angular guitars while vocalist Gabriel Blake barks, in his sing- speak Irish brogue, “don’t cling to life/there’s nothing on the other side”, in a very-matter-of-fact reaction to managing grief. ‘More Is Less’ rages with an unrelenting intensity; tribal drums merge with sinister basslines and a glacial guitar line that flits from icy to volcanic. The notion of allowing people to make their own mistakes and to cut the apron strings course through the album’s overarching narrative “If I gave you everything you ever wanted/you’d never be full”. ‘How The Streets Adore Me Now’ is The Murder Capital stripped right back to a brittle husk; a spectral piano chimes a desolate funeral march while Blake channels his inner Nick Cave with a velvet croak “my love/my light/my darkness” the frontman purrs through the track’s dying ebbs. ‘For Everything’ is the album’s first glimpse into The Murder Capital’s uncompromising world amalgamates surges of cathartic noise with piston like hums and hisses, as Blake explores the feeling of detachment and loneliness “I am the underworld/the one you want to leave/a failed democracy”.
There’s a strength to confronting your inner most fears and worries, and this is something The Murder Capital have delivered with aplomb.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams
When I Have Fears by The Murder Capital is now out on Liberator Music/Human Season Records