I’m always surprised every time I hear a new Murder by Death album. For a band that’s not Mr. Bungle, each album is a pretty big departure from the previous. Their upcoming offer, Good Morning, Magpie is no exception.
Most apparent is that there’s not much of the Spaghetti Western motif (both musically and lyrically) that they’ve been using the past three albums. It’s got a bit of a more traditional sound with a quiet maudlin tone.
And to go off on a tangent for a bit, (and I’m sure this is coincidental) one of oddest things to me is just seeing the band name along the album title. It always seems to fuck with my head every time I see the word murder preceding magpie, being that murder has such a close relation to crows (you have a murder of crows, a tiding of magpies, an unkindness of ravens, and a parliament of rooks). Its just strange every time I see it. Anyway…
It’s their first album in quite some time that isn’t a rock opera. Which is cool, because (although I really enjoy the albums and the stories that accompany them) I think that if a band records too many concept albums, they turn into Dream Theater. And although there’s no overarching story, the songs are a meticulously placed forty minutes of music.
The album opens up with two drinking songs with whiskey in the title. As Long as There’s Whiskey In the World is reminiscent of that Whiskey In the Jar song that (most notably) Thin Lizzy used to play. On the Dark Streets Below is one of the album’s more upbeat songs. It’s got a NOLA jazz sound to it with horns and everything.
Piece by Piece and the title track are two songs right in the middle of the album that resemble Murder by Death’s previous offerings. They have a similar melancholy and passionate tone of the mellower songs from Who Will Survive and What Will Become of Them?
You Don’t Miss Twice is a really cool lighter waltzy kind of a tune with prominent percussion. It reminds me a bit of Skeleton Key. The album intensely climaxes with The Day. Possibly the best song on the album, I think its about the end of the world and rattlesnakes or something. And, that’s it. We’ve gone from whiskey to Ragnarok.
Good Morning, Magpie will be released by Vagrant Records on April 6th.