Remind us of: the Cure, Joy Division, Death Cult/early Cult, early U2, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, David Holmes, Echo and the Bunnymen, Public Image Limited
Links to songs in blue
The Wikipedia definition of ‘Post Punk’ describes it as ‘a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences’. 40 years on there is now an exciting new wave of post punk, and at its heart are the Murder Capital.
The band come from Dublin, and have very much become the doyens of the press, critically lauded even before they released anything based on their electric live performances. Their first single release was ‘Feeling Fades’ which made its debut early this year, subsequently followed by ‘Green and Blue’, ‘Don’t Cling to Life’ and just last week ‘More is Less’. Their debut album ‘When I have Fears’ was released on Friday, and has garnered a heap of critical praise.
I grew up on a staple diet of post punk with a bit of Goth thrown in here and there, so listening to the album has been an interesting experience. It’s almost been like revisiting my past and waking old memories that I’d previously tucked away.
The original post punk influences are very clear on ‘When I have Fears’. Opening track For Everything could quite easily be mistaken for ‘Horse Nation’ by the Cult or ‘One Hundred Years’ by the Cure. It’s a powerful start that’s complemented by the thrashy More is Less which seems influenced by IDLES, who the band have previously supported on their tour.
The pace slows with Green & Blue, which evokes Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘All my Colours/Zimbo’ and Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’, and then slows further with the excellent Slowdance I and beautiful Slowdance II and On Twisted Ground. Within this section there are hints of U2 and the Cure from their Faith album, particularly on On Twisted Ground which is reminiscent of ‘All Cats are Grey’.
Feeling Fades ups the tempo, still within the Cure territory, sounding like the Hanging Garden from ‘Pornography’ with shades of Killing Joke thrown in. Don't Cling to Life sounds like a cross between Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and ‘Transmission’ mixed with fellow countryman David Holmes’s ‘I Hear Wonders’. An element of David Holmes’s ‘The Ballad of Sarah and Jack’ from the same album permeates How the Streets Adore Me Now before the album closes with the menacing Love Love Love which could easily have found itself on an early Bauhaus or Sisters of Mercy album.
Overall it’s an excellent album and the placing of the songs give it a wonderful structure. If I’d heard this as a teenager I’d have it on repeat and loud, just like I did with the bands that have clearly influenced this record. As it is I find myself returning to it regularly, and it gets better with every play.
The band are touring extensively in October. I’ve not seen them yet but it will be interesting to see how they sound live compared to record. As mentioned above they’re supposed to be superb live, so if you can get to one of their gigs do so. I’d also recommend checking out some of the other new wave of Irish bands – the likes of the Melts and Silverbacks for example, as there’s some seriously good stuff brewing there.