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Murder By Death

In Bocca Al Lupo (East West)

Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006

ACL Music Fest Reviews

Murder By Death

In Bocca Al Lupo (East West)

On Murder by Death's 2003 debut album, Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?, cello sliced through urgent guitars and tribal drumming, resulting in a mixture of hardcore and classical. Third LP, In Bocca Al Lupo, is a little more sea shanty. With former Jawbox frontman J Robbins producing, the Indiana quartet makes a Southern-singed gutbucket journey to the belly of the beast. (The title roughly translates as "the mouth of the wolf.") "One More Notch" channels the Decemberists with salty, deck-swabbing bomp, and the Pogues on jaunty "Dead Men and Sinners." MBD also channels Old Man Waits on "The Organ Grinder" ("There's a man who runs this place, built like a chimney and hits like Joe Brown"). The presence of cellist Sarah Balliet gives Bocca its old-timey sway for the bulk of the songs, but other songs sound confused as to whether they want to be gypsy rock ("Dynamite Mine") or MXPX ("Brother"). Adam Turla can get a little too sing-songy through 12 cuts, especially the Cash and carry of "Sometimes the Line Walks You." However, the liner notes do feature some interesting gothic cartoons of the band. (Saturday, 12:50pm, Austin Ventures stage)

**.5

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