A compulsive debut album from the much-hyped Dublin band...

There is self-reflection and there is confrontation. The two may seem like opposites but they come together on The Murder Capital’s mesmerising debut album ‘When I Have Fears’, a work of importance and relevance. The last time the band played through the album they felt every second of those six months spent writing it and a lot is reflective of what they went through together.

The album tackles the idea of accepting fears, recognising the things we hate and feelings of isolation. It offers consistency of thought matched with a beautiful narrative and leads on to moments of catharsis.

The Murder Capital are from Dublin. The city’s status as Europe’s symbolic capital of alternative music is still fresh, and it hosts some of the most compelling new bands. It has gradually built a reputation in the minds of those continuing to find themselves on the lookout for deeper, more meaningful guitar music by embracing a different vibe and energy entirely.

Opening track ‘For Everything’ signifies the impulse to reflect a the whole spectrum of human emotion. Sonically, a lot of nuance is delivered in the form of blistering guitar sounds, emotionally resonant vocals, a tambourine that engages with the stomping drum beats. There is a strong element of self-declaration which becomes addictive. The track has a nightmarish vibe and as the melodic guitar sets in, things go from terrifying to beautiful.

In equally fascinating ways, the track ‘Green and Blue’ is hypnotic and infectious. Soaked in Joy Division-indebted drum beats, searing bass lines, the lyrics are integral to the song as well. The effects of combining authentic lyrics and instinctive instrumentation are dramatic, emotional, and ultimately, empowering.

Excellent lyrics play a vital role to The Murder Capital, and it is no exaggeration to say that there would be no music without them. The idea of an emotional truth is the key driver in their poetic and sonic landscape, ‘If I gave you what you wanted, you’d never be full. That’s the trappings of your boyish mind, Become unshakeable”, concludes James McGovern on ‘More Is Less’, a song that deals with boyish innocence and vulnerability.

As one of the album’s other highlights ‘Feeling Fades’ also has pace, energy and emotional depth, it explores feelings of despair, fear and anger with beauty. It is a big tune.

The Murder Capital offer authenticity, honesty and truth aplenty, it has already become difficult, if not impossible, to imagine a vibrant music scene without them and there is a sense that this album is only the beginning of their compulsive journey.

8/10

Words: Susan Hansen

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