Out now via Human Season Records

Rating: 10/10

By Alex Salisbury 

Album of the year is often something thrown about without merit, but that is not the case for Dublin’s own The Murder Capital and their debut release ‘When I Have Fears’. The sadly beautiful and atmospheric first offering is a must listen for all music fans, especially those with an interest in the recently resurgent wave of post-punk.

The Irish five-piece had garnered much praise for their powerful live performances over their year-and-a-bit-long lifetime. This was something that producer Flood, who’s previously worked with musical legends such as New Order and Nick Cave, wanted to capture in the recording, and capture that he has.

‘For Everything’ opens the album with atmospheric strings which switch into the menacing bassline and drums without warning, showing the true unexpected violence the band can produce. This is a hard hitting track, with vocalist James McGovern’s hard yet beautiful punk vocals floating amongst the aggression of the instrumentation.

The whole album is a fine balancing act between delicate melancholy and brutal, yet charismatic, hostility, an analogy of the world that we live in today and a vision of the environment the band were formed in. Their name hails from the failings of the mental health services in Ireland where a friend tragically took his life before receiving the help he required. They’ve publicly said that nearly every line on the album relates in someone way to his passing.

A piece of three acts ‘When I Have Fears’ switches gears throughout its duration, the opening trilogy of tracks are hard-hitting and brutal, then you’re hit with ‘Slowdance I & II’. The middle section of the album is slower, more stripped back and far more atmospheric than the opening third, closing with ‘On Twisted Ground’, a track comprised simply of bass, guitar and McGovern’s vocals.

Listen to ‘Green & Blue’ here:

The final act is thrown back into your face with the opening lines of ‘Feeling Fades’, the debut single from the band. The menace, madness and intensity returns during the closing section of the album. That balancing act of softness and intensity brings it all to close with the Joy Division-esque ‘Don’t Cling To Life’, the bleak, minimal yet somehow beautiful ‘How The Streets Adore Me’ and closer ‘Love, Love, Love’.

A debut release like ‘When I Have Fears’ only comes round once in a while, material pulled off with passion and aplomb, a true masterpiece of the modern post-punk revival. The only negative I could draw from the album is that the ten-track composition includes four previously released tracks. But, when the quality on offer is as high as this that is something I’m willing to ignore to give The Murder Capital full marks for this excellent, must listen release.

Catch The Murder Capital at the following: