The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears

An album that celebrates the human desire for unity.
Label: Human Season Records
Released: 16th August 2019
Rating: ★★★★

Making a name for themselves through their captivating live shows, The Murder Capital have progressed from word-of-mouth buzz to a fully-fledged must-see act. On their debut album ‘When I Have Fears’, the Dublin quintet manage to create and sustain an atmosphere that is both intense yet contemplative, with the often aggressive, heavy instrumentation being accompanied by poetic lyrics of isolation and grief. 

This is seen immediately on opener ‘For Everything’, where guitars rise and fall over a menacing drumbeat to signal a march of intention that sets the tone for the rest of the record. Drawing on experiences deeply personal to the band, it is by exposing their vulnerability that The Murder Capital are at their best, most clearly on stand-out track ‘Don’t Cling To Life’ – a song that which in less articulate hands could have been bleak and misconceived, instead becoming a euphoric lament of life and loss. Likewise, ‘Green and Blue’, a track that rumbles and builds in a similar fashion to prime Joy Division, features a brooding vocal line from lead singer James McGovern that offers an introspective, yet universally applicable appraisal of loneliness, and the subjective nature of dealing with suffering. 

Despite this, ‘When I Have Fears’ never wallows in self-pity but actually celebrates the continued human desire for unity, acknowledging the part it plays not only in coming-of-age but in guiding us through our most extreme emotions. On the surface, there are obviously clear comparisons to be made with the likes of IDLES, Shame, and fellow Irish contemporaries Fontaines D.C., however, The Murder Capital offer a variation on the post-punk theme that even if not entirely new, maintains a certain tenderness amid the noise.

Dominic Allum

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