ALBUM REVIEW: The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears (Human Season Records)

The Murder Capital are an Irish band who have had quite a buzz forming around them for some months now, with this debut album one of the most anticipated of the year.

Produced by Flood (PJ Harvey, New Order, Foals), When I Have Fears features all four of the band’s singles so far – Feeling Fades, Green & Blue, Don’t Cling To Life and More Is Less.

It’s an album which deals with love, loss, grief and loneliness, and there’s a consistent intensity throughout which marks out the Dublin five-piece as a band arriving fully formed.

Consisting of James McGovern on vocals, Damien Tuit and Cathal Roper on guitars, Gabriel Paschal Blake on bass and Diarmuid Brennan on drums, they are hewn from the same post-punk granite as the likes of Idles and Fontaines DC.

The Murder Capital.

Joy Division are an obvious influence, and they also have a lot in common with more contemporary bands, such as Interpol, Editors and White Lies, but their sound is even darker than all of them.

Brooding opener For Everything has a delicious slow build-up before coruscating guitars burst into life, and then frontman McGovern’s insistent voice comes in.

First single Feeling Fades and More Is Less are more frantic, and they show they can handle the loud-quiet-loud dynamic popularised in the 90s by Pixies and Nirvana.

The Murder Capital. Pic: Gavin Ovoca.

Green & Blue, the second single, recalls XTC, and – yes, Joy Division. Based around an unusual drum pattern and understated bass line, with shards of jagged guitar, it’s the first of two tracks exceeding six minutes – a bold move indeed for a debut record.

Songs like that only serve to highlight the early ambition in the band’s sound, but they’re far from one-trick ponies.

From the post-rock build and breakdowns of the two-part Slowdance, to the tender, bruised confessional of On Twisted Ground, and the sparse piano and Leonard Cohen-like grumble of How The Streets Adore Me Now, they show they can turn their hand to lots of different styles.

The Murder Capital embark on another headline tour in the autumn.

As well as festival dates across the summer, the band have already completed one headline tour, and will embark on another in October / November. On the evidence of this album, it’s not to be missed.

Is it indie music, punk or even post-punk? I don’t know, but I like it, and this will be on lots of people’s shortlists as an album of the year contender. 8/10.

Gary Welford owner