Earlier this year we were blessed with Fontaines DC’s debut album, the first of the wave of Dublin post-punk to lay on our ears but by the time the bands debut Dogrel arrived the music press had already started to attribute Dublin with a whole scene and not just an isolated quartet of genius. With bands like Just Mustard and The Murder Capital, Dublin has become a hotspot for healthy competition, each band trying to outdo each other; it’s shocking to say but When I Have Fears makes Fontaines DC’s Dogrel feel an extremely honourable second place, a statement we never thought we’d say.
“The Murder Capital have harnessed the opportunity to use the perfect recipe they’ve been dealt to construct an album that won’t just age well, it has the ability to be timeless.”
The Murder Capital have harnessed the opportunity to use the perfect recipe they’ve been dealt to construct an album that won’t just age well, it is timeless. The recipe The Murder Capital are utilising is their home city of Dublin where Deego from Fontaines DC (Dublin contemporaries and friends) stated in interview with Underscore Part 3 “[Dublin is] like a city that just got over the slump part of the day hangover and starts to feel good again.” They are part of a thriving community Deego continued to say “[everyone talks] about experience which is really interesting [and not materialistic items].” The group ooze talent and the indescribable traits to make them instant idols, to see The Murder Capital live is a spectacle when we saw them recently we described it as “possibly the greatest small venue tour of the year.” The final pieces in the puzzle to create one of the most hotly anticipated albums of the year, an album that lives up to its hype is the fact they grew up with and were mentored by current Mercury Award nominees Fontaines DC. The Murder Capital were further blessed when they stepped past the inner cities they started in by being further mentored by some of the most innovative management and PR teams the industry has to offer. The final angle to be drizzled heavily throughout the album is that the production by a man called Flood. Although his name may not mean something to everyone, most who will enjoy this album will have records of his amongst their favourites. Not many in the industry have produced albums by PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, U2, Foals, Nick Cave among others (all artists in Flood’s extensive repertoire). Flood brings When I Have Fears beyond anything the other ingredients could have brought, the wisdom decades of experience can bring in the studio.
When I Have Fears is the type of album that doesn’t deserve a review it deserves a track by track run down, no song is a low point, no song is a high point; the album is a piece of work to listen to in its entirety, a stab at the playlist generation, streaming just the bits that fit on carefully crafted digestable record label promo playlist pulp. Opening the album with elongated bows on For Everything for nearly a minute before the charging repetitive bassline and layered guitar line the track tells us we are off to a war of emotions, an experience that will unify the band on we’re about to be taken on the journey they took to make it. Lead singer James Mcgowan has stated how the record and band in its entire history to date (including the band name) relates to the suicide of a dear friend. Further tragedy struck the band with one member having to lay his mum to rest during the period of recording sessions, James commented that “every single one of those lyrics relates back in some way to his death.”
“More Is Less is the palate cleanser, the forthright visceral energy, the release you needed to continue of the exploration of life The Murder Capital take you on throughout the album.”
With the colossal emotional energy exuded during opener For Everything, When I Have Fear kicks straight afterwards into the most ‘generic punk’ track on the album, More Is Less. The track is a relief to the listener, More Is Less is the palate cleanser, the forthright visceral energy, the purifying release you needed to continue of the exploration of life The Murder Capital take you on throughout the album.
Later in the album we are blessed with further palate cleansers with some familiarity in style to More Is Less in the form of The Feeling Fades and Don’t Cling To Life. In an album with such emotion choosing to release as singles two songs that are more ‘easy-listening’ was a perfect plan, partly because it left us dumbfounded when we heard the diversity of the full lengther but also because the album draws the listener into some powerful emotions that they may find hard to deal with and we needed the familiarity of the metaphorical teddy bear to keep us safe on the journey.
“This release is an event as much for the band as it is their fans new and old.”
Part of the beauty of The Murder Capital, this album and the promotional campaign is that in a generation of instant gratification The Murder Capital have kept so much back having only given us four chunks of the whole picture until the very release day (one of which was only a live video). We are gone are the days of queueing outside the record store on release day but The Murder Capital have given us the closest thing to this. It’s a pleasure in this generation to know that people will have waited till midnight to stream the record. This release is an event as much for the band as it is their fans new and old.
“In every bar of every song on When I Have Fears the band experienced catharsis, a catharsis as listeners we feel with goosebumps of tenderness and empathy.”
Although this is not an album with highlights it does have four tracks that push the boundaries of what we knew of The Murder Capital, with almost half the album pushing our own expectations, When I Have Fears is an album that will be praised long after the initial promo campaign.
Side A features Slowdance I and Slowdance II, a post-rock/post-rock symphony piece leading into profound On Twisted Ground, a block of the album that will leave the most cynical listener dumbstruck. On Twisted Ground is the clear obituary to their fallen friend, we as listeners feel the privilege to share such an intimate moment with the band. On the recent tour On Twisted Ground was played with bass player Gabriel Paschal Blake sat front of stage on the monitor and James McGowan bleeding his emotions into the microphone. The track was recorded in this way; the band were struggling to honour their fallen friend so the pair were sent by Flood into a separate room. On Twisted Ground is the outcome of this take. Almost at the end of the album piano led How The Streets Adore Me Now shows again the diverse set of skills the band have and will be able to draw upon throughout their career. In a time when post-punk as a genre has become so broad and, in many ways, boring, these four tracks prove that although Flood has produced many a band that has skyrocketed to arena fame before again yet again he has produced a band heading for the same stages. In every bar of every song on When I Have Fears the band experienced catharsis, a catharsis as listeners we feel with goosebumps of tenderness and empathy.
“The Murder Capital have produced an album so far beyond what a group of their their years should be able to produce, an album that will be celebrated for years.”
Closing the album with Love Love Love The Murder Capital remind us that although on first impression due to their name one could be drawn to think morbid ideas of their sound Love Love Love proves the final statement is collective support. The Murder Capital have produced an album so far beyond what a group of their years should be able to produce, an album that will be celebrated for years. We’re unlikely to hear an album as profound for the rest of year possibly even next year. When I Have Fears deserves to have a thesis to be written about it; a collection of reviews by every music publication simply does not convey its musical importance.
“When I Have Fears deserves to have an thesis to be written about it, a collection of reviews by every music publication simply does not convey its musical importance.”
Words: James Wadsworth
You can catch The Murder Capital live
23rd August – Cabaret Vert – Charleville Mezieres, FR
25th August – Rock En Seine – Paris, FR
30th August – Into The Great Wide Open – Vlieland, NL
1st September – End of the Road – Salisbury, UK
7th September – Misty Fields Festival – Asten-Heusden, NL
26th September – Death Disco – Athens, GR
6th October – The Crescent – York
7th October – The Exchange – Bristol, UK – SOLD OUT
8th October – Bodega Social Club – Nottingham, UK
10th October – Dome, Tuffnell Park – London, UK – SOLD OUT
11th October – Concorde 2 – Brighton, UK
12th October – Castle & Falcon – Birmingham, UK
14th October – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK
15th October – The Mash House – Edinburgh, UK
16th October – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – Glasgow, UK
18th October – YES (The Pink Room) – Manchester, UK – SOLD OUT
19th October – Ritual Union – Oxford, UK
20th October – Swn Fest – Cardiff, UK
25th October – London Calling – Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands
26th October – V11 – Rotterdam, NL
28th October – Le Grand Mix – Tourcoing, FR
29th October – Portobello – Caen, FR
31st October – Le Rocher de Palmer – Bordeaux, FR
1st November – La Rex – Toulouse, FR
2nd November – La Paloma – Nimes, FR
4th November – Joker’s Pub – Angers, FR
6th November – Nouveau Casino – Paris, FR
8th November – L’Autre Canal – Nancy, FR
9th November – La Poudriere – Belfort, FR
10th November – Sonic City – Kortrijk, Belgium
12th November – Molotow Musikclub – Hamburg, DE
13th November – Musik und Frieden – Berlin, DE
14th November – Artheater – Cologne, DE
November 16th – Lausanne, Switzerland – Le Romandie
November 17th – Bern, Switzerland – ISC Club