Artist: Murder By Death
Album: Big Dark Love
Label: Bloodshot Records
Release Date: 02/03/2015
Big Dark Love marks Murder By Death’s seventh studio album release with grandeur, presenting their most polished collection of songs to date.
The indie rock five-piece out of Indiana continues in a vein resembling the slow, gothic ballads of previous releases, but with a few surprise elements blended into the mixture. “I Shot An Arrow” starts the album off on the softer side, with hints of brass and Adam Turla’s signature gravelly vocals. By the third and title track, “Big Dark Love,” it’s clear that the band has been experimenting with their established sound, implementing a range of percussion, horn and even a touch of electronica.
In “Hunted” and “Dream In Red,” Murder By Death’s talent for the slow build is on full display; what starts out dreamy and understated evolves rapidly into a powerful crescendo, always with Sarah Balliet’s cello winding through the background. “Natural Pearl” departs from the darker themes present in much of MBD’s discography to embrace a classic country sound, complete with slide guitar and lyrics that invoke bucolic innocence.
While the band is obviously toying with their music to include some novel influences, fans can look forward to the same distinctive, mournful tones that Murder By Death has cultivated over the past 15 years. The result is a less raw, but very appealing compilation.
– Leah Dearborn