White Murder - White Murder (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

White Murder

White Murder (2014)


My introduction to White Murder, an LA quintet featuring two vocalists, was through photos in editions of Razorcake, either through adverts the band had placed or those taken by one of the contributors. These always seemed to depict the vocalists, Hannah Blumenfeld and Mary Animal, in any number of weird, contorted positions as they performed in front of the three guys who seemed to be happy to be taking a back seat. I imagined quite an aggressive sounding punk racket to come from White Murder, but on further investigation I discovered that I was quite some way off the mark.

White Murder oozes with a sensuality born out of a throbbing, mid-tempo sound that Blumenfeld and Animal sing over, mostly in unison but occasionally not, and now I get it; the pictures I've seen are clearly a band that reaches a frenzy through pulsating live performances and that's why these two women are seen pulling all kinds of shapes, as they express themselves through movement as much as the words they deliver, because they really get caught up in the moment.

It's a primal quality that rumbles across most of the ten tracks and is hypnotic to the core, not needing a powerful, fast-paced approach, which would just dilute the music from its more concentrated state. There is something dark and gothic here and the video for the track "Cold Dark Night" features quite a schlock horror theme but with a dose of humor, showing that the band is not self-absorbed. The lyrical content doesn't provide food for thought, it's more a case of being a vehicle for Blumenfeld and Animal to do their bit, and to be honest there's nothing wrong with that.

The rhythm section of Paul Gonzalez on drums and Michael D'Amico on bass certainly know how to build tension in a song and they do so with aplomb on "Rose," creating a feel that reminds me a bit of The Ruts' "Staring At The Rude Boys." Reuben Kaiban does a grand job of working his guitar lines into the beat that Gonzalez and D'Amico set down, adding some light to the darker elements of the band. On repeated listens this album keeps growing and I hear more going on than was first apparent, which for something that I initially considered sparse is quite a feat. One other thing I didn't catch on to at first was how there is a peppiness to the vocals at times adding some levity to the record -- a nice touch. I'm not going to compare this band to any other as they do seem to stand alone from the crowd a bit so I'd urge one and all to give them a listen via Bandcamp.

So I think I've got White Murder figured out now but I'd really like to actually witness the live experience in the flesh rather than through a camera lens to experience the whole shebang as it's meant to be. Please come to the UK!

White Murder Fact: apparently the album was recorded in just two days.