Cum On Feel The "Big Dark Love"! Did Murder By Death Just Unleash The Year's Best Album?

Hey, I get it, you're a busy person with a lot of music begging for your attention.  The music you deem worthy of entry into your head space must pas a rigorous bullshit test.  After all, you can't have Jeff Tweedy mingling with Barenaked Ladies or he might actually start writing songs again.

What I'm saying is that I know your bar is set really high and that it's gonna take one mother of an album to even move your meter just a little bit.  With this in mind, and the mutual understanding that what makes a truly great album is not two or three good songs top-loaded at the beginning of the album followed by eight tracks of filler, I submit the following for your consideration:

On this, the seventh studio album by Bloomington, Indiana's Murder By Death, what we have is an album that, in the span of ten songs, does what we secretly wish all albums would do: slay us, engross us, make us feel that our taste in everything until now has been somehow inferior, but is now finely honed to perfection,  We are a better person from the moment that Big Dark Love's sly melodies and back-country wordplay begin to wash over us.

Those requiring heavy doses of Pro Toolsian tomfoolery and wardrobe malfunctions will be sadly disappointed and quickly separated from the pack, for this is a recording of humans interacting.

Make no mistake, this isn't just some assemblage of hipsters ensconced in an archaeological dig disguised as "rock & roll", this is what future generations will be pulling out of OUR time capsules to prove that we weren't complete idiots, if I have anything to say about it.

Now, that's not to say that Murder By Death have reinvented the wheel.  No, their wheels are very much the same as yours or mine, but what they DO with their wheels is where the genius lies.  "I Shot An Arrow" is the sound I'm always hoping to hear anytime Modest Mouse puts out a new album (which reminds me, their new album The Best Room comes out today!),

"Strange Eyes" answers that most pressing of musical queries: What if Mumford & Sons or The Lumineers put a little more backbone into it.  As great as those bands are, they always feel so musically brittle that a 5 mph wind might blow them all away.

Only equal heaping dollops of airplay can say for sure whether there is a "Ho Hey" or "Little Talks" to be found here, but when the entire album unfolds before you like with three-dimensional cinematic precision, singling one song from the others would be akin to a theater only showing the shower scene from "Psycho" and tossing the rest of the film aside.

Singer Adam Turla's voice, which, on past albums, shared more than a passing resemblance to Bowie at his most plaintive (as on "Until Morale Improves" from 2003's Who Will Survive And What Will Be Left Of Them?), has taken on a character all its own, which plays a huge part in adding yet another level of expression to the band's already-considerable arsenal.

And, while a song like "Hunted" wouldn't have sounded out of place on a previous album, the maturity and restraint given to this performance imbue it with a subtle, yet simmering intensity heretofore unimaginable.

In closing, I feel a sense of obligation to warn you that listening to Big Dark Love may prove costly for some; as those who haven't already will find themselves buying all six of the band's other albums.

All things considered, that's a beautiful problem to have.

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