"Red of Tooth and Claw" by Murder By Death (2008)
Death Out For Blood
Dominated by a sound that conjures up thoughts and feelings of dust rising up from the floorboards from the boots of gunslingers walking cautiously through a one-horse town, Murder By Death's gothic western outlaw masterpiece Red of Tooth and Claw is a dramatic and passionate display of a band finally reaching 100% of their potential.
Musically, Murder By Death play a style of dark Country-Rock with a Punk twinge to it that comes close to Mekons territory; that is until secret weapon of the group Sarah Balliet chimes in with her piercing cello and then they sound remotely like Indie-Rock stalwarts Cursive. Adam Turla also has an ace up his sleeve as well and it just so happens to be that entrancing voice of his. Falling somewhere between Johnny Cash, John Doe from the band X and Nick Cave, Turla's baritone is a perfect fit for these tales of desperate men with no hope for even a chance at redemption. Turla sounds the most like the man in black on the cello and acoustic guitar two-step of "Steal Away" with the excellent line "Well your mama and your papa they don't like me too much, I've got a dark streak in my ways. But you and me we'll stick together, we're to birds of a feather together ‘til the end of days." On "Rum & Brave" Turla and company sound their most menacing with a backbeat straight out of Hades and Turla spouting the dark as coal line "The faces of the damned and all the butchered lands, if I had to do it over I'd just would have done it slower." With all the death and destruction that Murder By Death leave in their wake, you'd think there wouldn't be room for romanticism but "Fuego!" is chalk full of passion and desire. When Turla laments "I want you!" repeatedly, you can feel that ache of yearning all the way down to your toes. With eleven tracks that end quicker than they began and not a dud in the bunch Red of Tooth and Claw is the first album of 2008 that I wouldn't just say is beyond a doubt essential, it's also simply required listening if you dare to call yourself a true lover of music.
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