Murder by Death is a dusty, whiskey-inebriated goth band.
Not really, but it felt right.
The name Murder by Death comes from a 1970’s Truman Capote/Peter Falk comedy. Like the Exorcist, But More Breakdancing is the band’s debut album, and was also the first release under the MBD name, as they were formerly known as Little Joe Gould.
Most notable about Like the Exorcist is its sprawling, cello-infused instrumentals, and the fact that it includes the greatest song title of all time, bar none, no comparison: “Holy Lord, Shawshank Redemption Is Such A Good Movie!”
I should just stop there because I won’t be able to top that. Let’s face it, kids: The Shawshank Redemption is the greatest movie of all time and if you think otherwise, not only are you incorrect, you’re also a fool complete with dunce cap and you likely use a Blackberry.
The biggest problem with Like the Exorcist is the production. But I’ll give the band a pass, and not just because they’ve released 5 more albums since their debut. Those records have provided Murder by Death with a fiercely loyal, almost cult-like following. And in true indie fashion, the band has embraced it, dubbing their biggest fans “The Whiskey Crew.” This includes special perks at shows, which I’ll assume is whiskey based.
“Those Who Stayed” and “Those Who Left” shine bright here, both instrumentals that play more like audio stories. The forementioned “Holy Lord…” is laid out in a similar fashion, but does feature vocals from lead singer and guitarist Adam Turla, who has the deepest singing voice this side of John R. Cash. And somehow, since Like the Exorcist came out in 2002, it’s only gotten more rugged. Somewhere in here there’s an allusion to be made about Turla’s voice and being on the bottom of the ocean in James Cameron’s personal sub, but I’m not a good enough writer to make it.
In summation: great instrumental sections, unique cello arrangements (and Sarah Bailliet playing, unffff), be-sideburnsed vocalist with a classic country-inspired voice straight out of the 1950’s Midwest (think John Wayne) – but suspect production. Oh well, it was a start, and the band has grown leaps and bounds since then.
I don’t remember this album being so dark though. Much has changed, yes.
From their debut release Like the Exorcist, but More Breakdancing, this is Murder by Death’s “Flamenco’s Fuckin’ Easy” –
Standout tracks: “Those Who Stayed” and “Those Who Left”
Weakest track: “A Caucus Race”
RIYL: Alt-country, anything with a cello, Sarah Bailliet (purrrrrr). Also: whiskey, cowboy boots, the desert, dusty bar room brawls – the kind with the swingy doors.