Big Dark Love
For a band that has built it's formidable, nearly 15 year strong career around a meticulous consideration for the effects of pressure, release, bombast, ecstasy and highest-highs vs lowest-lows, it is something to say that BIG DARK LOVE is Murder by Death's most dynamic release to date. On their seventh full-length album and first since their 2012 Bloodshot debut BITTER DRINK, BITTER MOON, the band's signature rootsy indie rock, cinematic gothic ballads and rousing pub rock shout-alongs mix with enlivening new stylistic elements: touches of pop, synth-y electronics and psych rock that were only hinted at on previous albums. Thematically, BIG DARK LOVE reflects a different, bigger and more complex side of Murder by Death. These 10 songs circle a central theme of love, only in this case, the oft-covered topic is approached both unconventionally and diversely; the love of a parent for their child, the struggle between unconditional love and morality and loving to excess. Throughout these songs, as in life, there can sometimes be a dusky patina of despair overlaying the glints of hope. This is a palpable tension inherent in this balancing act between the melancholic and the inspirational and textures both synthetic and authentic, utilized here in a way that late 90s era Flaming Lips hadn't quite figured out yet.