Where Murder Mystery’s Are You Ready For the Heartache Cause Here It Comes seems to offer a simple explanation for its contents, it lies majestically. This is not the heartache you would recognize on the street, the heartache you went to high school with, the heartache you see on magazine covers or in police-lineups. Regardless of the deception, AYRFHCHIC is as straightforward and simple as its name isn’t.
This unpretentious collection of disastrously cheerful tunes has a tremendous capacity to be blunt—just the sort of happiness for happiness’ sake that’s guaranteed to put a frown on any self-satisfied, Starbucks-sipping existentialist’s face. Despite the almost austere candor of the music itself, though, and in direct contrast with the anything but elaborate message laid out by Jeremy Coleman’s fudgey-firm vocals, in Heartache, Murder Mystery plays a sound that’s hard to describe. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to compare the opening track, “Who Doesn’t Wanna Give Me Some Love?” with the Zutons, but this powerful pep pops without being informed by any of the latter’s self-conscious throwbackery. Still, basic comparisons don’t reach far enough, don’t approach the totality of Murder Mystery’s effusive elegance.
If Johnny Cash had toured with the Beatles, their tour bus collided catastrophically with a convent, and the ensuing fire killed all involved, these are the tunes the devil would make them play at a square dance in hell.
Or if that’s too convoluted, imagine Stuart Murdoch had been born in the 1940s in suburban California. Heartache is the album he’d have produced for his junior prom. Still too abstract? If The Strokes decided to cover Weezer’s `Blue Album,’ the results would not be far from Heartache. And even this relatively immediate analogy is contrived in ways that never come through in the music.
Voxtrot – Voxtrot
Television – Adventure
Butterglory – Crumble