The Murder Capital - Gigi's Recovery (Human Season)

The Murder Capital – Gigi’s Recovery (Human Season)

Irish quintet, The Murder Capital, have sculpted an intricate alchemy of tender, brooding, fierce, euphoric and edgy soundscapes in their second album, ‘Gigi’s Recovery,’ out on 20th January via Human Season. Rather than fully re-treading the post punk track, they have honed their craft, letting the ideas naturally ferment into a rich, dark sumptuous multicoloured palette; a tapestry of interwoven sounds echoing the opulence of La Frette Studio in France where they recorded. It is dark, heavy and regal; an oscillating multifaceted album that has the depth of experience and multi-textured riffs and lyrics awash with futuristic electric loops and dark ethereal allusions.

It’s a high class cinematic concept album bookended and juxtaposed by short concept tracks ‘Existence’ and ‘Exist’ marking the beginning and end of the record, reflecting the cathartic journey from darkness, to light and recovery. This is ultimately an album of hope, even though at times you feel like you have journeyed through the depth of Hades with the band, there are always sparks of hope in tracks like ‘A Thousand Lives‘ where the dark riffs are punctuated by delicate twinkles and heavy bass, moving like the shifting of tectonic plates- It is a hero’s quest through the darkness into triumph. In the age of streaming and music ephemerality, it is satisfying to have an album that is so clearly designed with the whole narrative in mind from ‘Existence’ to ‘Exist.’ Like a Dali painting, you can see individual pieces close up and that is beautiful, but if you look at it at the album a whole you get a different and altogether more satisfying impression – the journey to realisation and recovery. ‘ The band said that recovery was returning to a place of change “perhaps a strength you never knew you had.”

They now feel like a mature and sophisticated band that have honed their craft beyond their years with motorik grooves, and heavy guitars weaving between, whirling surrealist loops and discordant rhythms that echo the narrative of the lyrics. If the first album was about the nature of death, then the second appears to be more about life, hope and love, whilst acknowledging the ephemerality of existence the soundscape echoing the ebb and flow of life itself; the production and energy going from, loud to soft, light to dark, intensity to natural flow.

It is almost operatic in its emotional range and musical and lyrical palette. This album has soaring oscillating choruses that were made to be sung live, building euphoric climaxes tracks like ‘Ethel’ and ‘Return my Head,‘ which we had a glimpse of in 2022 and saw resonate intensely with live audiences. These tracks were made for the mosh pits. The intensity can only grow when fans mouth the words back at them after the release of this album at they start their tour.

As well as the musical palette becoming more sophisticated with the syths, textural guitars and whirling licks from Tuit and Roper, Mc Govern’s voice seems to have developed more of a wide- ranging deep crooning quality, anchoring the newfound soundscape with melodic depth. Both musically and lyrically It’s a carefully crafted work of art – You can imagine future generations seeing this album as a landmark piece. Whilst watching Peter Hook play Joy Division tracks live to multi-generational musos last week, I was quietly imagining Gigi’s Recovery having the same longevity, with such an accessible labyrinth of ideas and textures to explore- It is ultimately raw, vulnerable and beautiful in places, with shades of light and dark that are a reflection of the human condition. As James Joyce said, “In the particular is contained the universal.” Often the more open that artists are in their lyrics, the more people can relate to it.

This album has less of the visceral energy of ‘Don’t cling life‘ paralleling the tone of Dylan ThomasDo not Go Gentle‘ poem and has more of the reflective acceptance and grounded hope of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Remember‘. Debut album, ‘I have Fears.’ was taken from the John Keats sonnet of the same name primarily exploring death, while Gigi’s Recovery seems to come from a place of hope strength acceptance and deep introspection.

The intimate voice of opener ‘Existence‘ feels like the lead singer is right next to you whispering in your ear, which would be weird in my case as he reminds me of my cousins in Cork (ew). The brooding and more reflective ‘Existence’ to start is a one minute concept piece that almost emerges and fades like the ephemerality of existence itself. It is smart and it is almost finished before you have time to digest it- just like life itself and yet it emerges again at the end like the circle of life — a living being that has metamorphosized, processed, decomposed and nourished the earth to create new vibrant life at the end, springing into a new lighter sense of existence at the end of the album. There is a beauty in the lighter classical Spanish guitar vibes of the final track ‘Exist-‘ a celebration of life. . It is beautiful to see the lyrics “Existence fading” in track one change to “Existence changing” in the last track with the energy growing from darkness to light saying ‘I loose my grip” in track one to “I took ownership to stay forever in my own skin” in track twelve. It’s a triumphant journey. For all the darkness, there is ultimately glints of light in the end.

The album is dominated by mood and melody. You can imagine many of these songs being sung by Nick Cave with their dark intense vignettes and melodies, yet Mc Govern himself carries the track like a Titan, cradled by the tightly honed guitars of Tuit and Roper and melodic bass of Gabriel Paschal Blake and Brennan‘s fiercely intuitive percussion.

There is nothing formulaic about Gigi’s recovery more a sense of a recurring dream with Mc Govern singing “I’ll wade I’m wading for you I will I’ll wait I’m waiting for you” in the track “Crying” He too is stuck in a loop, before flowing seamlessly into the euphoric anthem of next track ‘Return My Head- ’ a track written in a place of pure frustration, feeling like our sanity had been unwillingly removed through periods of isolation.’ said the band This soaring banger is bound to be a fan favourite in their upcoming tour. The united force of singing “Return my head, throw it to the crowd” is something that I can’t wait to see a whole venue of fans singing along to. It’s pure pure escapism. The creative freedom that the band were afforded is also reflected in bassist Gabriel Paschal Blake’s superb directorial debut in the video for this piece.

Ethel seems to be the ‘cornerstone’ in the story of this album is another epic track starting with an almost electronic Angelus style bell toll, perhaps reflecting a type of transcendent awakening, or realization that is bound to resonate live . Mc Govern sings,: ‘I always wanted it to be like this for us Strung out on love/ Alive in the city’ to ‘I always wanted it to be like this for us Having our first kid Name her Ethel”… “Pulling triggers like the fashion was a loaded gun” It finds the narrator at a precipice, the song a re-examination of past desires and priorities, whether they are worth still carrying, or if they should be left behind. The band said, “The song ‘Ethel’ is a picture of a crossroads, really, asking you what you want from life. Whether you want to continue down a path of chaos, or make a change in your course. The idea of ‘Ethel’ is that you can have what you truly desire if you put to rest those short-lived fixes that never bring you any real happiness.”

This is the track that seems to truly reflect the more mature attitude of the band; the crux of the album. It feels uneasy to bring a child into the darkness the band have created, however the swells and bursting chord progression reveals that it is a place of safety.

The more luscious, sun-soaked soundscape of track ten, ‘Only Good Things,’ sees the band show “ desire, in its most pure form, the desire for goodness and clarity.” This song sees the band kick against their post punk pigeonhole. Some fans may not initially warm to this short, more dazzling theatrical energy, but it still has dark peripheries and reminds me of the pathos of Nick Cave and Shane Mc Gowan singing “Wonderful World‘.’ In terms of album construction, it seems perfectly placed. This track is meant to be there and is an integral part of the album’s architecture. It could been seen as the climax; the final revelation of the hints of lightness that have been glinting in the darkness throughout. Placed just before tracks ‘Gigi’s Recovery and ‘Exist.’ It is an integral part of the narrative of album’s journey. All the great artists like Bob Dylan and even fellow Irish contemporaries Fontaines DC, have challenged their audiences with unexpected musical avenues and are all the better for it. By releasing this as a single they seemed to be testing their fans like Dylan did. This album is not bubble gum pop, but a a journey from darkness to acceptance and recovery.

This album is a multifaceted masterpiece sculpted by a band that have truly found their sound. Let it wash over you, let it take you from darkness into light. Feel the oscillating soundscapes and poetic introspection. Enjoy the surreal depths; swim in its brooding, fierce, tender and euphoric waters and feel like you are listening to a landmark record; one that is likely be cherished by future generations and will ripple in the subconscious long after the last track has faded, continuing to exist indefinitely.

The Murder Capital have set the musical bar sky high for 2023 and I, for one, will not be surprised if this receives multiple accolades by the end of the year. I can’t wait to see these tracks played live. If the intensity of their previous shows is anything to go by, the addition of these new album tracks will only add a rich tapestry of colour and brooding euphoria to an already enthralling live experience. As the band said of the album, “Knowing every detail of every room in this house that we have built together, all we want to do is invite you all in. The door opens wide in the new year,” so come on in.

Details of the album and upcoming international tour can be found here:

Home – The Murder Capital


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