Not everything is as it seems.
To begin the long list of post-punk releases this year are The Murder Capital, this newest offering, ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, approached surprisingly quickly. Like its predecessor ‘When I Have Fears’, the new album is cryptic and puzzling in places. With many layers that I’m sure will be unpacked over the coming months, for now it is a box that seems to fill itself each time it is emptied. Fear not, there are still the blood pumping, incendiary moments that will only add to their list of crowd-surfing-worthy songs.
People say that the first impression is what counts, well ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ has a fork in its road when it comes to first impressions. You’ve either expected something much less macabre than their debut, based upon the recent singles, in which case you’ll be shocked, or you go in open minded, prepared for anything. I recommend the latter. ‘Only Good Things’ and ‘Return My Head’ offered uplifting revelations on the approach to the album’s release and still do in its full body, but are contrasted much more intensely against the melancholic portions of the album. This contrast, the sonic landscape of grim valleys with glorious high notes either side, highlights the details of regaining one’s self.
Never mind deep down desires, lusts and needs. Pay attention to the reluctance to wallow in self pity, these tracks are more like detailed poems of a journey. Stand out ballad ‘The Lie Becomes The Self’ recounts moments of being unrecognisable and becoming a laughing stock of your own standards, its drums and distant high pitched screech make it a bog to wade through to the next part of the journey. At this point the mellow sounds and reflection begin to rub off, it’s intimidating to look inwards, especially when it is sprung upon you like this.
Without directly mentioning it, the album consciously preaches courage and faces the uncomfortable to the point of unwanted tears. It’s just like The Murder Capital to send you through a rollercoaster of emotions, you can reconcile with ‘We Had To Disappear’ where conflict that is felt within is faced with the courage that has been built up over the course of the album, frontman James McGovern shows a glint of triumph in his vocal “I’m dancing in the waves”. I haven’t listened to a song that illustrates what it feels like to fight yourself so accurately, the quintet delves into a maelstrom at the end to do so, and makes you feel like you’ve won.
From start to finish, The Murder Capital pull you through a story of anxiety, reflection and personal revolution. This album was in no way what it was expected to be, that being said it’s a very grateful feeling that it isn’t. ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ is a case of staring into the mirror and not seeing yourself, and peeling your skin back until you recognise the person looking back at you.
Words: Jack McGill
Image credit: James Kelly
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