One to watch: The Murder Capital

This Dublin punk band are on blistering form on their debut single, but for real thrills see them live

The Murder Capital are outrageously exciting live. The young Dublin quintet’s brutal art-punk rock is thrilling on the edge of terrifying: new year fireworks in a metal tent.

You won’t hear much on streaming sites yet, and what’s there can’t quite capture the unreasonable thrill of their brooding stage presence. Schoolyard-forged friends looking like a Victorian gentlemen’s boxing gang on parole – even sometimes playing while gently butting heads – they simmer with menace while weaving around each other on the tiny stages their pawing intensity has long outgrown.

The band’s mix of businesslike dress and improvised choreography on stage is echoed in their music. Visually and sonically, it’s a thug’s pantomime, delivered with delicacy. It’s never just pure punk noise. Some songs reach back to Joy Division’s drum tattoos, interlocking with surging, wave-break bass. Pixies’ quiet-loud-quiet trick is in there, as are Shame and Savages, while PJ Harvey and the Bad Seeds infest tracks such as Green and Blue. But these are just reference points on a map of their own making. Mostly they thrust forward into the darkness.

An album and second single, to follow the vein-bulging debut track Feeling Fades, should surface this summer. You need to see them live though. “I like brutalism because it’s not trying to be beautiful,” says singer James McGovern. The Murder Capital make brutal beautiful.

• The Murder Capital support Idles at the Electric Ballroom, London, on 6 April, and tour the UK, 30 April-11 May

Listen to Feeling Fades by the Murder Capital.


Damien Morris

The GuardianTramp

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