A band once at crossroads, results in an monumental post-punk follow-up with every feeling attached to it.
Another day, another post-punk spirit hailing from Dublin.// Joining an ever-growing roster in the world of the curious alternative, The Murder Capital are a sprawling outfit destined for greatness. This year? This year, sees the group push themselves into bolder sonic territories with their highly-anticipated follow-up Gigi’s Recovery.
Fettered with the macabre of post-punk and what sounds it brings from their 2019 debut When I Have Fears, the band knew they had to evolve. An early iteration of the record emerged just after an eight-month period in the height of 2020’s lockdown, but was deemed too depressing. A decamping in London brought about a lush and loose “concept record”, aptly named Gigi’s Recovery. A slow-burning album with an exposed narrative seeping throughout, it’s still able to capture the dark depravities of the post-punk workings out, all the while returning to a place of grounded strength.
Only Good Things was the first taster of new music from the group post-pandemic and brings a broader range of emotions – compared to the relatively dampened tact of their debut When I Have Fears, which centred around the loss of a friend to suicide. A pivotal turning point to the approach of Gigi’s, it proved that Only Good Things came to those that wait. It was the beginning of something invigorating, as they brought experimental elements to the table, in a bid to create something more sonically emphatic. A weird organ there, a dabble of synth here. The sky really was the limit.
When A Thousand Lives followed shortly after in early Autumn last year – a blisteringly paced track of euphoric riffs – it was expected to assume the same high sprung optimism for the whole album – but vocalist McGovern advised those to not get too complacent as “it definitely gets dark.” That it does.
The opening eery prologue of Existence drips into Crying, the first harrowing move we hear on the record. Staggered electronic pulses are met with an expansive network of guitar that is the gentle caress we needed to be submerged into the bands’ new found soundscape. Return My Head is met with the same obstructive force. Ready for the stage but this time, McGovern’s bold melodies show us at his poetic best – “A ride between the eyes, just take the shot, the human prize / I read like a dream tonight but I’m still waiting for the sign,” comprising a shifting attitude of plundering forward that we may not have heard on When I Have Fears.
Ethel delivers the same promise, with a pent-up tension that bursts out in adept fashion, it’s as much Murder Capital, as it is Fontaines – and is immense post-punk spirit. Although losing momentum temporarily, The Stars Will Leave Their Stage is an ideal breakaway for experimentation, with those industrial electronics leading an oddly unsettling motif. Before we’re cast away from shore, they pull us back in with moments of alluring beauty that finish off the songs good and proper. Belonging and The Lie Becomes The Self fit well together on Gigi’s puzzle; a two-parter of a soundtrack befitting to a desolate factory wasteland. A sure-fire feeling you get when you listen to the album throughout.
As seen throughout the record, elements of the debut that underpinned its cathartic expressions of grief remain, but now – we get a lighter, bittersweet tale of accepting the same grief and moving with a strong foot forward. Whether that’s in the right direction, is all down to how we see things on Gigi’s. As ever, it’s intriguing songwriting met with the same confident deliverance.