Murder By Death
The Other Shore Deluxe LP, 2 variations-180g Bone White Indie Exlcusive Vinyl and 180g Mars Red Edition
Murder By Death’s eighth full-length album The Other Shore is a space-western about a ravaged Earth, its fleeing populace, and a relationship in jeopardy. It’s an epic journey rocketing toward the unknown—in the universe, within the characters represented through 11 songs, and through the band’s evolving sound. But basically, the quest poses the ultimatum: Stick with what you have, or risk it all to find something new.
Recorded at La La Land in Louisville by Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, White Reaper, Ray LaMontagne, Basia Bulat) and Anne Gauthier, The Other Shore sonically captures the mood of two lovers choosing separate paths, one who stays on Earth and one who leaves it.
As trailblazers of the early 2000s indie-Americana style, the Louisville, KY-based quintet finds a way of taking tried & true rock-and-roll and knocking it slightly off axis, into tottering revolutions of something eerie, emotional, immediate, lush, and uniquely theirs. As the album and voyage progress, the atmosphere transitions from earthy to cosmic, sober to festive—from folksy Midwestern indie rock (“Stone”) and piano-laden devil-on-one-shoulder/angel-on-the-other Leonard Cohen-style balladry (“Only Time”), to buoyant new wave recalling The Cure (“Bloom”) and celebratory jangly singalongs (“I Have Arrived”).
In between departure and arrival, there is a brooding, swirling complexity. In some moments, The Other Shore is loaded with intimate and visceral detail, like reading a manic stranger’s daily journal; and in others it’s more cinematic and visual, as if one were listening to a movie. “Alas” uncovers the pastoral air and morose gloom of a decaying land, captured by multi-instrumentalist David Fountain’s droning accordion, swelling classical cello lines from Sarah Balliet, and the echoey acoustic guitar strums and the baritone call of guitarist/singer Adam Turla. The complicated tension between diverging lovers is wretched forth as Turla resigns, “I need to stay/ But alas I must go.” Later in “True Dark,” you can hear a rattling craft soar through the cosmos, as a bounding triplet rhythm on drums and electric bass accelerate through spooky black holes, bright star twinkles, and meteoric dust.