Release Date: Sep 25, 2012
Record label: Bloodshot
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
The night can be a scary place sometimes, with myriad dangers masked by a shroud of darkness that requires us to simply take a deep breath and head into the unknown. Most of the time, what's actually out there is fairly mundane, and the things we fear are living inside of our minds, tricks dreamt up by our subconscious to scare us. It's these imagined parts of the darkness that Murder by Death call home, peeling back the shadows to show not what is actually lying in wait in the darkness, but what we secretly wish was there.
The members of Murder by Death have aptly referred to their brand of gothic, old-West tunes as “dark whiskey devil music.” They have a plethora of songs that serve as musical yarns concerning revenge, or murder, or any number of tragic themes for that matter. Concept albums about the devil destroying an entire town in Mexico sit side by side with tales of pirates at sea or odes to Kentucky bourbon. Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon fits perfectly within the band’s wheelhouse, but it also serves as step forward in their music.
On the surface, Murder By Death operates most like a punk band. Their strong D.I.Y. ethic has remained constant throughout their decade-long career, which includes self-releasing their own vinyl, and they’ve shared stages with bruisers such as Against Me! and The Gaslight Anthem. Yet there’s nothing explicitly punk rock about the haunted Americana balladry in which the band specializes.
The reality is that Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon is the musical equivalent of a grape soda—it tastes familiar, but it's just not quite a grape..
In the decade since Murder By Death has been around, they’ve cut quite the niche market for themselves. Though they can be regarded superficially for their doom and gloom motifs and brooding sonic palette, such an assessment is far too simplistic. True, they’re a band you need to be in the right mood for, but when that mood seizes you—usually between dusk and 4 a.m.
Midwestern quintet and band of whiskey aficionados Murder By Death digs deep into its Indiana roots on Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon. Supported by fans through the third-highest-funded campaign on Kickstarter and backed by Bloodshot Records, the band took the low and slow approach to writing this time around, and the result is a chilling sixth release and an appropriate followup to the band’s 2010 release, Good Morning, Magpie. The album finds its tone immediately with “My Hill,” where a quiet, steady and slow guitar follows vocalist Adam Turla’s deep lament, mournful and bold.