They must be putting something in the reservoirs in Dublin, because it’s making blokes pick up guitars, holler in the accent of their region and produce angsty, rollicking punk music. Following in Fontaines D.C.’s footsteps come The Murder Capital, whose name gives away their rather spikier nature. They turn out smart, sure, but in the unlikely event of band-to-hand combat they’d out-gruff Grian Chatten’s lot. The volume would be extraneous but you wouldn’t walk out in a hurry. In fact, you’d pay double to see it happen ('cause awesome up-and-coming bands could do with the money).
The tree that is The Murder Capital’s forthcoming long-player When I Have Fears bears a bunch of fruit ripe enough to pluck and devour. ‘For Everything’ kicks it off, ambiently cinematic. It reads like a warning siren: what’s to come is dangerously likely to in some way possess you. It kicks, too, but the sensibilities a hardened metal aficionado could sympathise with eventually fade to a gentler conclusion. As often with this record, the hardened front dissipates revealing the vulnerable heart at the centre of The Murder Capital.
James McGovern’s vocals wouldn’t be out of place at Download Festival, such is the ferocity and sincerity of heart on ‘More Is Less’. The ‘Slowdance’ dyad allows McGovern to put it to us a little gentler. His lyrics sing with poetry. They leave an infallible mark. If this were the only art he could leave the world, then what an epitaph it would be.
‘Green & Blue’ bewitches the listener with its gunfire drumming, then with its Cure-ish riff late on. Drummer Diarmuid Brennan deserves a special mention, propelling song after song with semi-automatic proficiency. ‘On Twisted Ground’ is a desperately yearning salute to a lost loved one. Bass leads, the narrative of the song imbued with such tragic air that one must be stoic to be unmoved. It’s haunting, it’s gorgeous. That’s all there is to be said, McGovern’s poetry does the talking.
‘Don’t Cling To Life’ is another song about passing, studying the subject this time in more triumphant spirits. This one’s got a fun riff and sweet melody, and not that it matters, is probably the most accessible track on the album. It says everything that needs saying in a concise, considered two minutes twenty-seven seconds – over before it has a chance to begin. Such is life.
Words and words hardly do the tortured poetry that lays here justice. When I Have Fears earmarks The Murder Capital as a band to get properly excited about. It’s a record pressed from raw emotion, from heart, from mind. It’s a piece of art – yes– to be thankful for, full of life despite being full of death, and sparkling with brutal beauty. Who knows, you might just be inspired to pick up a suit and bass and start about lowering those vocal chords. If you’ve got the spirit, and haven’t lost the feeling…