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Review: The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears

One of the most anticipated albums of 2019, The Murder Capital have released their debut album, When I Have Fears on their own label, Human Season Records.

The Murder Capital - When I Have Fears album cover
The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears out now via Human Season Records.

The Murder Capital’s debut album has been eagerly waited upon after being showered with praise from across Ireland and the UK before they even had released a single.

On Thursday the band returned to Cork, to launch When I Have Fears thanks to local record store, Music Zone, located in Douglas Village Shopping Centre. The show was a display of why there is so much talk surrounding the band.

The Murder Capital @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.
Bassist Gabriel Paschal Blake (left) and frontman James McGovern (right) @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.

As ‘Feeling Fades‘ rifled through Crane Lane, the band tangling around each other on the packed stage as the chaos unfolded, you could see that this is a band that knew exactly what they want to do and then execute it perfectly.

The Murder Capital @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.
The Murder Capital @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.

Their short performance was a celebration that the album that was set to be released just a day later would propel them to dizzying heights already so early in their career. And here’s why…

Opening with ‘For Everything‘, the band waste no time in setting the tone for this record. Straight away the track emits a building tension that roars with stabbing hooks from both guitarists Cathal Roper and Damien Tuit.

The opening song lays the groundwork for the rest of the album, sheer angst crafted through stunning compositions.

Captivating the emotions that are felt when dealing with loss on ‘On Twisted Ground’, this song is so simple and yet so beautiful. Just Gabriel Paschal Blake playing a gentle melody on his bass while a mournful James McGovern sings.

The Murder Capital frontman James McGovern, during the band's album launch show at Crane Lane. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.
The Murder Capital frontman James McGovern, during the band’s album launch show at Crane Lane. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.

It’s the raw emotion that is heard during ‘On Twisted Ground’, maybe from seeing it live before the album was released, that makes this such a breathtaking song.

Oh my dearest friend, how it came to this, with your searing end into the abyss…” is a sucker punch before adding a heartbreaking line that he repeats: “You could’ve watched it all…”.

When performed in Crane Lane, you could see McGovern having to compose himself, pulling away from the microphone at one point, uttering the word “fuck” to himself and wiping his brow. 

The harrowing feeling that is created as McGovern looks back on something that clearly left a mark on him leaves a lasting impression, even after the song ends. It’s a devastating, yet beautiful moment on the record.

 The searing energy throughout the rest of the album cuts through you. Especially on tracks like ‘More Is Less‘ and ‘Don’t Cling To Life‘. They celebrate the ups and downs of love on the former and the inevitability of death during the latter.

The Murder Capital have crafted a masterpiece that will stick with you for a long time.

The Murder Capital @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.
The Murder Capital during ‘Slowdance II’ @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.

Each band member has something to give. Guitarists, Cathal Roper and Damien Tuit hammering the listener with thrilling riffs, bassist Gabriel Paschal Blakes’s ground-shaking bass lines and drummer, Diarmuid Brennan’s crashing beats. They deservedly get their own track to shine on during ‘Slowdance II’ that puts their brilliant talent to the forefront.

The Murder Capital @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.
The Murder Capital frontman James McGovern, during the band’s album launch show at Crane Lane. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.

Many have been familiar with a lot of their songs from seeing them live. However, finally hearing it loudly through headphones, hearing things that may have been missed amongst the chaos of their live shows, you get to fully experience why so many people have been raving about Ireland’s most exciting band before they had even released a single.

Love, life, and death channeled through adrenaline inducing songs, packed with swelling melodies and stunning stories laid bare through the brutally delivered words of James McGovern. That’s When I Have Fears summed up.

The Murder Capital have produced Ireland’s album of the year. It’s a bold statement but one few could argue against.

Verdict: 10/10

Songs worth putting on repeat: ‘For Everything‘, ‘Slowdance II‘ and ‘On Twisted Ground‘.

The Murder Capital frontman James McGovern, during the band's album launch show at Crane Lane. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.
The Murder Capital frontman James McGovern, during the band’s album launch show at Crane Lane. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.

When I Have Fears, the debut album by The Murder Capital is out now.

All photos in the article taken by Leanne Gabriel. See more of her work on her Instagram page.

Photos in the gallery were taken by both Leanne Gabriel and Ryan O’Riordan. You can see more of Ryan’s work on his Instagram page.

Bassist Gabriel Paschal Blake during The Murder Capital's album launch show @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Ryan O'Riordan.
Bassist Gabriel Paschal Blake during The Murder Capital’s album launch show @ Crane Lane 15/08/2019. Photo by Ryan O’Riordan.

Check out the full gallery from their Cork album launch show in Crane Lane below.

  • The Murder Capital @ Crane Lane 15:08:2019. Photo by Leanne Gabriel
    The Murder Capital guitarist, Damien Tuit during their album launch show in Crane Lane, Cork. Photo by Leanne Gabriel.

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