Just a few weeks after their transitional sophomore album Gigi’s Recovery hit number one on the Irish album charts, dethroning Taylor Swift’s Midnights, Dublin post-punk outfit The Murder Capital kicked off their largest UK/Ireland tour to date last Thursday at Manchester’s Albert Hall. I headed down to check out the band over three years on from the release of their phenomenal moody debut album When I Have Fears.

As the sombre notes of the intro track to Gigis’ Recovery, ‘Existence’, rung out to a backdrop of blue hues, it became clear what a perfect setting the Albert Hall was for the bands more delicate new material; with soft light from outside seeping through the venue’s huge stained glass windows.

The band entered the stage to a huge reaction from the crowd, opening with their most recent single ‘Return My Head’, with singer James McGovern delivering a searing yet swaggering performance which inspired images of a young Morrissey, further reinforced by his flamboyant tambourine shaking.

The band’s set struck a perfect balance of new and old, with older material such as fan-favourite ‘Feeling Fades’ providing more of the grit and muscle of the night, with textures comparable to contemporaries such as IDLES and Shame, or early post-punk bands such as Joy Division. However, it was the newer material from Gigi’s Recovery which was most exciting, truly feeling like an evolution of the recent post-punk revival, here the band explored mellow soundscapes reminiscent of a 2000s Radiohead; such as on ‘A Thousand Lives’, where drummer Diarmuid Brennan delivered a driving groove embellished by other members Damien Tuit, Cathal Roper and Gabriel Paschal Blake in an almost post-punk reimagining of In Rainbows’ Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.

Another highlight of the set came in the form of the bands final song; ‘Ethel’, where every member of the audience appeared to chant the lyrics alongside McGovern. Overall, The Murder Capital proved themselves as one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the recent post-punk revival, who aren’t afraid to evolve and even break out of the post-punk label. Fans of bands from Joy Division to Radiohead to Fontaines D.C. and beyond should be sure to check out The Murder Capital as they continue to tour the UK & Ireland throughout February.

Photos and Words by Jacob Swetmore


Philip Goddard

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