Local front-runners Murder by Death released their seventh studio album, Big Dark Love, in early February of this year. The follow up to their 2012 album Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon was heavily anticipated by fans and, in most respects, does not disappoint. The album title is a perfect summation of all the parts of the album, with it being a fluid work of of full-bodied, gothic love songs.
Fans have long been fond of front man Adam Turla’s songwriting skills. His ability to weave dark tales throughout an entire album have not been known to disappoint. Throughout Big Dark Love Turla’s storytelling skills may not have suffered, but the delivery may have. Compared to previous albums, say the amazing lyric-packed Red of Tooth and Claw, the stories of the songs shrink into the background compared to the ever-building crescendo that each song inevitably comes to. This may be Murder by Death’s most ambitious work in terms of the amount of instruments and diversity involved in each song, but sometimes the effect comes off as less epic and more crowded.
Overall, the album is a good listen, but if long-time fans are expecting a continuation of Murder by Death’s earlier albums, they may not like what they hear. As with any band that is growing and changing, it may take a while for fans (myself included) to come to peace with the new sounds they hear. However, as Murder by Death dives into uncharted territories, I think we can expect some pretty great things out of this stellar, well-rounded band.
Must listens: Big Dark Love, Strange Eyes, It Will Never Die