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Murder by Death - In Bocca al Lupo (Cover Artwork)

Murder by Death

Murder by Death: In Bocca al LupoIn Bocca al Lupo (2006)
East/West

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


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

Murder by Death's Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them? is a sure portrait of what happens when the Devil is alive and well and living in the Old West, conveyed by thick alt-country overtones and jaunty, liquor-swilling showdowns with tumbleweed bustling by in the background. That the band.
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Murder by Death's Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them? is a sure portrait of what happens when the Devil is alive and well and living in the Old West, conveyed by thick alt-country overtones and jaunty, liquor-swilling showdowns with tumbleweed bustling by in the background. That the band manages to leave almost that entire scenario behind in In Bocca al Lupo -- while still hinting at it occasionally -- should be impressive enough on its own; that they draw from an extraordinary set of elements both sonically, textually, and thematically just makes the progression all the more admirable.

Immediately the record offers a diverse array of individual circumstances -- guitarist and vocalist Adam Turia puts forth a creepy, breathy creak of singing style in "One More Notch" that sounds like he's leading the band through the crunch of dead grass in some remote forest while a subtle salsa rhythm propels the song, and the pirate ship waltz of "Dead Men and Sinners" rallies the buccaneers in less than two minutes for Lupo's shortest offering. "Brother" moves at a pace likened to a bumping wagon-wheel, while "Dynamite Mine" is a careful, sordid forewarning of sorts. "Raw Deal" surprisingly plays around with atmospheric post-rock guitars. Horns are integrated with seeming necessitation in "The Organ Grinder," "Sometimes the Line Walks You," and "The Big Sleep." A choir gives a Southern hymn charm to "The Big Sleep" and "The Devil Drives." Sarah Balliet's cello adds to the dramatic flair prevalent through and through, her keys giving a bouncy flavor to the more tempo-driven tracks. It's surely a stunning, complicated mix of influences and tools applied for the 43 minutes Lupo travels, always with a twang but one constantly bent on yet another angle.

An exceptionally woeful set of dark, morose narratives are found in the album's second half. "The Big Sleep" depicts a self-explanatory scenario, while "Shiola" tells of a humble father making his best efforts in raising a son -- this also brings us to one strongly consistent theme throughout: the elements of family values. "Brother" rings with sibling pride, Turia promising to protect his own from the law ("I know there's better brothers, but you're the only one that's mine"), while the aforementioned "The Big Sleep" is sure to ask witnesses of the execution to "tell my wife and kids I never meant for this to happen," Turia's voice wailing the latter part of the line. It should be mentioned that the front-man's picturesque description techniques are enticing and dreadfully captivating, and that's where Lupo's strength is surely lying in; he uses simple, storytelling imagery that paints pictures with strokes matching the talents of any physical artist.

As well, all throughout Lupo's duration, it seems as though Turia has been studying the Johnny Cash discography closely; his sneering baritone, while exhibiting a variety of moods, seems an eerily close reflection of The Man in Black even while the band takes that musical influence into an entirely different genre.

The layout is perfectly illustrated, offering black and white sketches acting as scenes from the album on one side and the long, twisting roots of a tree on the other side that lead down to the rings of fire surrounded by winged compatriots of Satan himself seemingly.

In Bocca al Lupo is a complex record, one that takes time to sink in. However, its compelling narratives are an immediate draw, Adam Turia telling of the importance of love, family and companionship through an eclectic variety of performances that takes the listener on a road composed of various inclines and surfaces; for every block of "steam rising off the gravel," there's a "patch of fresh dirt" waiting to be traversed.

Brother

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In Bocca al Lupo

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Brother

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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.
mike_litt69 (March 25, 2007)

beatifully chilling vocals

Anonymous (June 23, 2006)

wow he sounds so much like Johnny Cash in "The Big Sleep"

someone-yeah (June 4, 2006)

I'd just like to comment that his last name is Turla not Turia

FreddieFreeloader (May 28, 2006)

I am digging it.

maverick (May 25, 2006)

Missing these dudes (and dudette) tonight in Cleveland due to a torrential downpour and a fucking tornado warning. Fuck you, mother nature!

-Scott

Anonymous (May 25, 2006)

This cd definitely grew on me since the first time i listened to it. track 2 definitely has a tom waits vibe and tracks 9 and 10 have a strong johnny cash vibe. im not sure where i would rank this cd compared to their other two albums.

-clichemyheart

adam (May 25, 2006)

I actually didn't mean to give this 2 stars back there, it's pretty fun.

The second and third songs (I think) were VERY Rain Dogsish.

-adam

p-fresh (May 25, 2006)

Wow, glad I'm not the only one who hears the Rain Dogs type sound of this record. I dig it hard.

adam (May 25, 2006)

"it sounds like murder by death covering tom waits"

It sounds like Murder By Death was really rocking Rain Dogs while recording this one. Not that it's a bad thing, as Rain Dogs is amazing, but the influence REALLY shows.

-adam

Anonymous (May 25, 2006)

"Lawrence Welk rocks harder than these queers..."

Meanwhile, in an ass backwards frathouse in Ohio.....

"Man, Lawrence Welk is a queer....."

Will the bigots agree on who is a queer, or will they be divided and incapable of mustering numbers to fagbash, forever left to hate at a mere grassroots level?

and, murder by death changed their name to murder by death from little joe gould, and I don't remember people being confused when it wasn't a guy named joe gould singing solo so why its odd murder by death isnt a death metal band I don't know.

wyzo

bwillysg (May 24, 2006)

In reply to the comment about the band's name sounding like a hardcore name, it's actually an old, obscure 70's movie. It's a comedy as well, so I was expecting the band to be somewhat goofy. It was a bit surprising for me to find that they take themselves so seriously.

Infrarecon (May 24, 2006)

Man, I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't like this band.

the_other_scott (May 24, 2006)

this band's name is basically false advertising.
never heard them before, just listened to the album stream.
"murder by death"? i was expecting a hardcore band.
nothing great here... background music for hipsters.


first of all, if your thought process is "hey Murder by Death, i'll bet they play awesome hardcore" then you suck at listening to music

second of all, hipsters wouldn't dare listen to this shit unless somebody told them it was cool.

Anonymous (May 24, 2006)

boooooooooooooooooring

ElVaquero (May 24, 2006)

I never really got into the first two albums but hearing "Brother" and "Dynamite Mine" really blew me away with this one. I like through and through, that's all.

Anonymous (May 24, 2006)

Ouch that band name is the suck.

cantsitstill (May 24, 2006)

this band's name is basically false advertising.
never heard them before, just listened to the album stream.
"murder by death"? i was expecting a hardcore band.
nothing great here... background music for hipsters.

Anonymous (May 24, 2006)

Is there a good reason why this band's cd's are reviewed on this,a punk site? Lawrence Welk rocks harder than these queers...

Anonymous (May 23, 2006)

Just a fantastic album. I can't wait to see them on 6/6/06. And I'd be shocked if I don't spend some drunk night crying to "The Devil Drives"

Anonymous (May 23, 2006)

"More accessible than their last album with many more high points."

can you or someone please explain what you meant by this? i mean, did i miss something or is Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them? a bad record or something. I really liked it, just as much as Like The Exorcist But More Breakdancing. I realy like this one too, not as much as those two though. I feel this one sort of goes flat in the middle, near the end. The first few tracks are really good, though more formulaic, more traditional in their style. Most of the middle to end tracks are similar, and though i like them a lot, i feel a lot of people would find them more boring, but i don't know. maybe i'm just stupid.but again...someone explain that quote above please.

Anonymous (May 23, 2006)

"this album is amazing... anyone know what happened to the pianist?"

yeah, he left the band to go back to school. as much as i know he is still in school.

Anonymous (May 23, 2006)

great great album

and i saw them last night, they've gotten to be such a great live band over the last couple years

ElVaquero (May 23, 2006)

Also, Brian, never refer to a rhythm as anything like Salsa again. Salsa uses polyrhythms...

ElVaquero (May 23, 2006)

I fell in love with this weeks ago, it's really really great. More accessible than their last album with many more high points. An easy spot in the Top 5.

Badmouth (May 23, 2006)

this album is amazing... anyone know what happened to the pianist?

DarrenMcLeod (May 23, 2006)

i think it's their strongest release yet. this band never ceases to impress me.

Angiepants (May 23, 2006)

I love this album a bit too much.

danperrone (May 23, 2006)

this is a cool album...not one i would listen to all the time, but i definitely enjoyed it

it sounds like murder by death covering tom waits

only tom waits is better

Anonymous (May 23, 2006)

"like the exorcist..." was amazing, live it was like nothing else. The 2nd record I largely can't get into almost at all, so it was a nice surprise to get into this one.

Not as bracing as Exorcist, but did give me some familiar chills, so I'll take what I can. Its good not to be negative sometimes.

Speaking of which, that new Mission of Burma, Obliterati, wow, a subtle and unexpected suprise from them.

wyzo

Anonymous (May 23, 2006)

oddly enough this bores me to death

colin (May 23, 2006)

oddly enough this is my least favorite MBD album. i absolutely love the first two, and this one is still growing on me, but "like the exorcist..." is just so incredible and seething with emotion and experimentation... this one seems a bit too standard.

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