Reviewed by Jack Derricourt
Murder is one of the inexcusable violations of the social contract. If you live in respectable society, which I assume you do if you’re reading this blog, you’re just not allowed to go around offing anyone you choose to. However, the productive minds of popular music turn to the seedy history of homicide on a regular basis for a well of song material; since the dawn of printed broadsheet ballads in the 17th century, people have been singing about murder, and now, all these centuries later, a band from Sudbury are keeping the musical bloodlust alive.
Murder Murder Murder by Murder Murder is a grim release indeed. The band plays exclusively murder ballads, both traditional and novel, and has adopted the grim genre title of Bloodgrass to insinuate just how singleminded their material really is.
The album is a truthful production of a live set, the room mic bearing witness to some well-honed Sudbury Townehouse chops. The harmonies shared between the singers pour honey on brutality, most notably on “Diana,” a tale of maladjusted lost love and drowning. The mandolin and fiddle work on the record is fantastic, and positioned in the mix to hold the high end hostage with great success — “Handsome Man” puts both instruments on trial and finds them guilty of excellence.
The sixteen tracks on Murder cubed threaten repetition, and perhaps that is one too many songs about death; but if history has shown us anything, it’s that people can’t get enough of a good, bloody story. Some truly witty pieces stick out, especially Murder Murder’s own “Cadillac,” a tale of oil sands and dead weight in a trunk. The lyric is complimented by gut wrenching chorus vocals and a highway-driving heavy drum beat. The music holds up, no matter what the content.
Sometimes the most modern music is that which looks back into the past with honesty and sophistication. Murder Murder have used a faithful obsession with murder ballads to steer their mix of bluegrass and outlaw country in an intriguing direction, fit to captivate any bar crowd in Canada. The album is true to this effect of suds and blood. So, before you pick up a penny dreadful of a newspaper, consider the purchase of Murder Murder Murder by Murder Murder instead — you’ll get just as healthy a dose of murderous storytelling, with the additional aftertaste of beautiful songwriting.
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)
Top Tracks: “Sammy and Johnny” ; “Diana” ; “Cadillac”