It can be immensely rewarding to watch as a band grows and develops. Not as human beings—especially in the case of Murder Murder, who are incurable monsters through-and-through—but as artists, as we see in their third album, Wicked Lines & Veins, which showcases how much they’ve honed their craft as musicians.
Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when reviewing an album isn’t, “How many people had to die for this?” The answer is that we will likely never know for certain, and we don’t want to go looking for answers.
Murder Murder specialize in bloodgrass: bluegrass murder ballads. These are the sort of people who do nothing but think of ways to kill people, and then compose songs about it. Over the course of the album they kill off a good cross-section of people. Everything from parents to a handful of daughters, strangers, landlords, rich men, poor men, entire gangs, themselves, otters, and even the occasional inanimate object have met an untimely demise thanks to them.
It’s a niche market, but where the band have spent so much time specializing in something they’re obviously passionate about, you can really hear the dedication and hard work coming through in their music. It’s been two years since their sophomore effort, From The Stillhouse, but in that short time they’ve fleshed out their sound and sharpened their production quality.
The album lands some particularly heavy blows, but none hit so hard as the deep groove the band get into right around the four-minute mark on ‘Sharecropper’s Son’. From the album’s first track it’s clear that their storytelling skills have only gotten better as we learn the tale of a young man who has lost his family and the only life he’s known. He could have it all back, or what’s left of it, if it weren’t for the landlord…
‘Pale Rider Blues’ stands out as it grinds on with some breakneck banjo playing. It sees the end of no less than six deputies, but at least manages it quickly. ‘The Last Daughter’ plays out more like a horror story with three daughters perishing one by one to a mysterious killer. ‘Abilene’ fits in two suicides, and a whole gang being burned alive.
While we don’t have an exact headcount from the album, the line “I’ve known death as long as life, and I’ve flushed the lights out from many sets of eyes” from ‘Reesor County Fugitive’ perhaps best sums up the band’s modus operandi. It embodies the album’s libertarian leanings and the gun-given right to do as they please. After all, as Murder Murder have proven of their outlaw lifestyle: if you’re going to commit to a life of it, you’re either going to be very good at it, or very short lived.
September 22 – Red Herring Pub, St. Andrew’s NB
September 23 – Fox & Hound Pub, Moncton NB
September 26 – Grimross Brewery, Fredericton NB
September 28 – The Carleton, Halifax NS
September 29 – The Commune, New Glasgow NS
September 30 – Carriage House, Port Hawkesbury NS
October 1 – Governor’s Pub, Sydney NS
October 4 – A.C. Sharkey’s, Bristol NB
October 5 – Wilser’s Room, Fredericton NB
October 6 – Taco Pica, Saint John NB
October 6 – Pepper’s Pub, Saint John NB
*This review was not written under duress or threat of any sort.