Murder By Death - Like The Exorcist, But More Breakdancing (Cover Artwork)

Murder By Death

Murder By Death: Like The Exorcist, But More BreakdancingLike The Exorcist, But More Breakdancing (2002)
Eyeball Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: DaeganDaegan
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Let's get the prerequisites straight out of the way: Murder By Death is not a "-core" band. They are also not an "emo" band. This ensures that they are not 'the sound of the moment'. And don't try to argue this, because you are wrong. Now then, I first experienced Murder By Death on their tour.
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Let's get the prerequisites straight out of the way:

Murder By Death is not a "-core" band. They are also not an "emo" band. This ensures that they are not 'the sound of the moment'. And don't try to argue this, because you are wrong.

Now then, I first experienced Murder By Death on their tour with Thursday, This Day Forward, and Every Time I Die. I (and everyone else in the building) was so blown away by their set that I ran straight to the merch girl to pick up the cd. I hadn't done that in a long, long time, because I'd been burned that way before. But I had $10 to drop without risking my dinner, so I did.

The CD was originally released in 2002 under their old name, "Little Joe Gould". Great choice to change the name, guys (and girl). It opens with a track called "Those Who Stayed" (the obvious counterpart being track 8, "Those Who Left"). Opening with an instrumental song is a choice that wouldn't work for a lot of bands, but these guys pull it off smoothly. The song is a haunting prelude to the rest of the album, and also shows off the unusual instrumentation of the band - specifically, their electric piano/keyboard and cello. (In fact, at about 1:54 into the song, it is reduced to these two instruments exclusively.) The building intensity at the end of the track leads to a great transition into "I'm Afraid Of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf".

The band's skill for building intensity is a large point of debate - usually they build the crescendo, and then abandon it. The opening of "I'm Afraid Of..." is an example of this - the last track ends in a very intense way and then the song opens with a slightly distorted drum sample. This turns some people off as they constantly expect the breakdown; I, personally, enjoy the tease.

"A Caucus Race" is one of the more laid-back songs on the album - which is odd because it seems panicked for a bit before relaxing again. Still, it's not one of the highlights.

"You Are The Last Dragon (You Possess The Power Of The Glow)" is the next song, and this is one to enjoy. It has its own personal intro before starting with the guitars - it's the first point at which the guitar really stands out and doesn't blend into the landscape. This song creates itself by having the instruments crashing into each other, attacking and then pulling back like some kind of crazed army. It's probably my favorite on the CD, and definitely the one to measure it by - if you hear this song and don't like it, you won't like the CD.

"Joe Bou" follows up next, beginning in a way that's not entirely unlike "Caucus Race". The leisurely ending of this song is the best part of it, with the keyboard ringing into the cello.

You'll probably have noticed by now that I don't mention the vocals much. They fit, and they're definitely great, but you usually don't notice them - as they blend in just as well as the instruments. They follow the song instead of the song complementing them, and this doesn't really let them stand out. That's okay though, as they really are wonderful when you catch them.

"Flamenco's #*!$in Easy" follows. The song feels...like the other ones, really. The band is careful to not deviate too much from the sound you expect by now, while still creating something that you haven't heard on the cd yet. Regardless, this song is a bit redundant at this part of the album. The lyrics, however, are quite amusing - "Hey Boss / Hey Boss / I'm capable / of making your / life easier / but I'm drunk on promotions...can I get you some coffee?"

And next we have "Intergalactic Menopause", which opens with just the guitar and bass before letting the cello slide in. The song is almost optimistic sounding(which is amusing from a band who wants to create "evil, evil music"). It's a great break from the darkness while still staying "thick".

"Those Who Left" feels like it closes the album proper - the next track and the hidden one after it feel like they're outside the range covered by the first eight songs, and that's okay. Anyway, aside from a bit of screaming here and there, "Those Who Left" is instrumental, and again, it is wonderful. This is one of the few bands who excels as well at instrumentals as they do with their "normal" songs.

If this album was a movie, "Holy Lord, Shawshank Redemption Is Such A Good Movie" would be the trailer for the sequel. It carries various feelings, long stretches of instrumentals, a few lyrics... It just has the feeling of an "everything" kind of song.

The extra track isn't really anything special, like most "hidden" tracks, but it's a nice little extra to listen to.

All in all, this album is very solid, and it's something that a lot of different people can listen to - as long as they don't expect a band that sounds like anything else. They do the "evil music" quite well, thank you. The band gets extra credit for not having any songs that are explicitly about relationships, and for having amusing song names. Make sure to pick this up - it makes a formidable addition to just about any music collection. (...Unless, for some reason, you're collecting bad music?)


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (November 26, 2005)

>>"lame, generic, there are 30000 bands like these, and most >>of them does it better."

>Name ONE. I dare you.

Current 93
Gentle Giant

That's 3, all who hit their peak many many years ago. Still not bad though. Not great, but not entirely sucky, either.

Anonymous (April 4, 2004)

I saw them last night
They Sucked. It was noise for like 45 mins. Bear Vs Shark kicked their sorry asses

FashioningKnives (December 19, 2003)

Bing Crosby, I love you because you took the words out of my mouth. I never could understand the obsession with this band. I know it's got to be me because of their huge following, but I was never impressed with them. Again I mean no disrespect to the fans of MBD, because there are a lot of them, I just am curious as to the reasons for liking them so much.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

...this band reminds me of The intima. (which is a good thing)

Anonymous (November 19, 2003)

This band was totally rockin' it live, and this album is good. I think they're actually better live, though. Tons of amazing energy.

This is like Godspeed! You Black Emperor-lite. Anyone who digs this stuff should feel free to check out Mogwai, and Godspeed. Two bands who both do this same kind of minimalist-orchestral rock very well, but on a much larger scale.

Anonymous (November 12, 2003)

I don't get it. If anyone read my comment posted under the show review of these guys with Thursday and This Day Forward, you'll know why. But I just want someone to tell me what makes this great and not just boring. I'm not saying they're a generic band, because I hadn't heard much like them, but just because there sound is new doesn't mean it's good. The vocals are boring and the other instruments just sort of bumble around. And what mood are they trying to creat? Anger. I own a split they did with Volta Do Mar and if the Volta songs weren't so damn good I would have been furious for owning anything with this bands name on it. Oh well, I guess we're all different. And I'm not trying to fend all Murder By Death fans. I'm just curious why a lot of people like them. Thank-you.

--Bing Crosby

Anonymous (August 7, 2003)

this is one of the best new bands you'll hear. I've been watching them play for years and every time they get better and better.

bluetunehead (August 7, 2003)

the music sounds like Cursive's The Ugly Organ with a very skilled pianist thrown into the mix. when they do instrumentals (two of them) it sounds something along the lines of like Godspeed You Black Emperor!

Daegan (August 6, 2003)

There is a description.

It's evil, evil music. It's moody. Hence the discussion of moods constantly. It's seriously like listening to a feeling.

In all honesty, I *did* have a hard time writing this, and putting it all into words.

Anonymous (August 6, 2003)

i read the review and have no idea what they sound like. my score is for a crappy review that describes feelings of music and says what the music is not but never really says what is being played. you can say some of it is fast paced but some of billy joel's songs are fast paced. I think just a generalized description is in order

Anonymous (August 4, 2003)

truman capote is more punk rock than lee ving

Anonymous (August 4, 2003)

amazing live band, amazing album.

Anonymous (August 4, 2003)

seriously, Im not the biggest fan but they're a good band. Who the hell sounds like them though? Thats the dumbest comment of the year pal. Like the other guy said, name one.

Anonymous (August 3, 2003)

I love the title.

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

What a emo-core band.

thebouncingsoul (August 1, 2003)

i love this band...this album is so so, but they're great live, and you can tell the next thing they put out will be stellar

Anonymous (August 1, 2003)

amazing live band.


Daegan (August 1, 2003)

"lame, generic, there are 30000 bands like these, and most of them does it better."

Name ONE. I dare you.

FortyMinutesWest (August 1, 2003)

Bring it! Clue is better!

Oh yeah, I like this band.

bluetunehead (August 1, 2003)

this cd is good but it drags on. think of Cursive's recent one but not as consistent. still a damn fine band with a great live show.

REALPUNX4LIFE (August 1, 2003)

Murder By Death is better than Clue. Truman Capote was more punk rock than Lee Ving. Blind butlers, mute maids and deaf cooks are funnier than French maids, dead cooks and Tim Curry. Where the hell is that guy who thinks Clue is better than Murder by Death? Forty Minutes West, right? It's ON!

Anonymous (August 1, 2003)

What the fuck is up with this band's name??! Murder By Death?? Well yeah I guess so...fucking redundant as hell.

Anonymous (August 1, 2003)

lame, generic, there are 30000 bands like these, and most of them does it better.

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