Posted by: will | July 24, 2006

Murder By Death…


Murder By Death “In Bocca Al Lupo” (Tent Show)

Buy it at Insound!

Murder By Death is a band that has shot up the ranks of indie rock rather steadily. The band issued their wonderful debut Like The Exorcist But More Breakdancing in 2002 under the name Little Joe Gould. Their second album, 2004’s Who Will Survive And What Will Be Left Of Them? was their first release under the Murder By Death name. The band’s sound has seen quite a metamorphosis. Like The Exorcist But More Breakdancing was more in line with post-rock and shoegazing bands. Who Will Survive And What Will Be Left Of Them? saw the band going in a more organic direction that paid tribute to the darker sounds of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave. In Bocca Al Lupo continues in that direction even more.

What Murder By Death is best at is telling stories within their songs. In Bocca Al Lupo is certainly no different. The album seems to be a loose concept record and while it may not be as explicit or cohesive as the band’s last album (which was also a concept record), it does showcase some of the band’s best material to date. Murder By Death’s songs tell mysterious tales of crime, death and redemption. Songs of regret and forgiveness and even some hope make up the bulk of In Bocca Al Lupo. The lyrics and vocals of Adam Turla and the cello of Sarah Balliet are the focal point in the band’s sound. The band expertly weaves mixtures of indie rock, post-rock, country and southern gothic into their expansive sound.

With the lyrics of You’re too old to fuck around and too young to die/Time to try life on for size, the album opener, “Boy Decide”, is a kick-in-the-ass song for the aimless. The next two tracks showcase something new for the band. The vocals of Adam Turla take on some rather odd shapes. He has a wonderful way of fitting his voice into all the different styles that the band attempts. The album’s third track, “Dead Men And Sinners” is Murder By Death’s attempt at sea shanty with group vocals and glasses clinking in the background. “Brother” is the first single and it is easy to see why as it’s a downright catchy song that speaks to how blood is always thicker than water no matter the circumstances. “Sometimes The Line Walks You” is a definite highlight and Turla’s vocals seethe with venom near the end of the song. The lyrics of Sometimes you walk the line and sometimes the line walks you are certainly memorable. “Raw Deal” closes with a post-rock flourish reminiscent to the band’s first album under the Little Joe Gould name. Turlas’s vocals on “The Big Sleep” and “Shiola” channel the ghost of Mr. Johnny Cash rather eerily. “The Big Sleep” tells the story of a character on death row. As Turlas screams out I never meant for this to happen! you can’t help but feel the chill in your bones as the drums march to the end of the song.

In Bocca Al Lupo is an album that deserves many a listen. It’s certainly an album that grows on you. Given the proper time one cannot help but discover the intricacies of the album. Murder By Death is a band that has simply found their niche. However, I’d be shocked to see this band stand still for too long. Quite frankly, they are just too smart for that. The band’s live show only adds to their brilliance. And while Murder By Death may seem all too dark and bleak, the band proves they can offer up some optimism as well. On the surprisingly uplifting album closer, “The Devil Drives”, the song echoes the fact that we have all made mistakes in our lives. But maybe, just maybe, we can all start over at some point too. The song ends in the hopeful lyrical refrain of There’s still time to start again. No doubt that’s a lesson we could all heed.

RIYL: Johnny Cash, The Black Heart Procession, Nick Cave

Listen: Murder By Death – Sometimes The Line Walks You (mp3)



  1. will it really grow on me? do i want it to? do you think i could have it removed by a doctor if it does? this album is the most boring thing MBD has ever done.

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