Indiana's Murder By Death has long drawn from the darker side of the human experience, toying with ideas of death and vengeance and regret while playing dusty, imposing music that only helps to accentuate the inherent lawlessness of lead singer Adam Turla's voice, the group's most memorable asset.
Their 2006 album, In Bocca al Lupo, took its guidance from The Divine Comedy, but Red of Tooth and Claw claims inspiration from The Odyssey. And, lyrically, this is indeed true: "Comin' Home" finds Turla singing like a crazed Odysseus, while "Fuego!" has him reciting "Baby it's been so long that even the roses' hips are turning me on" to his Penelope.
Musically, the influences, while perhaps not as mythic, are just as considerable: Nick Cave and Johnny Cash are called on in equal proportions within Turla's voice. And the band's devotion to the spaghetti Western is even more outwardly realized here, with, appropriately enough, a song called "Theme (for Ennio Morricone)." This overtness can be too much, sometimes dampening the effect of Turla's powerful baritone or the swirling guitar and cello lines. But when it's done right (the Trojan "Ash," the calmly violent " Second Opinion"), the results resonate long after the reverb has ended.
Murder by Death plays Saturday, March 30, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave.; Detroit; 313-833-9700.
Marisa Brown writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.