Murphy's Law - Murphy's Law [Reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law [Reissue] (2014)

I Scream Records

I Scream Records is re—issuing the Murphy's Law back catalog. This is good news, as many of their records have been in and out of print and hard to come by. First up is Murphy's Law's 1986 self titled debut.

When you think about New York hardcore, certain images come to mind. Muscular, shirtless, tattooed men with shaved heads. Serious songs about the pain and suffering of existence. Well, those thoughts are dashed less than a minute into Murphy's Law. The chorus of the first track repeatedly uses the sound of barking dogs. It becomes obvious very quickly that these guys have their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. The album opens with three strong, aggressive punk songs, "Murphy's Law", "California Pipeline" and "Sit Home And Rot".

The overall vibe is loose. It sounds like they're having fun in the studio. It's almost as if they were making things up on the spot. It's spontaneous and in the moment. I doubt they considered that people might be listening to this stuff nearly 30 years later. The songs alternate between driving hardcore and goofy and upbeat. There are tributes to brew ("Beer"), and weed ("A Day In The Life"). "Crucial Bar—B—Q" is about the now legendary Sunday afternoon NYC events. The album finishes strong with "Skinhead Rebel" and a cover of the Stooges' classic "I Got A Right".

Murphy"s Law is clearly a product of the 80's. There's the obligatory Ronald Reagan taunt ("California Pipeline"). There's a song about a cartoon/toy fad ("Care Bear"). The song "Beer" throws around the word "queer" in a way that might make the younger, politically correct crowd uncomfortable. The whole album is so good natured that it shouldn't offend many.

I do have a couple of beefs with this. My problem is with the re—issue, not the original LP. There is one bonus track, but it's just a demo version of a song on the album. This brings the total running time to 25 minutes. There's plenty of room for extra tracks or bonus live material. There are no additional photos, liner notes or essays. Not even a word from Murphy's Law main man Jimmy Gestapo. It just seems like I Scream didn't put much effort into this project. Putting all that aside, if you are a fan of 80's punk or hardcore (like I am), you should have a copy of this in your record collection.