Murder By Death: Good Morning, Magpie

Murder By Death: Good Morning, Magpie
Despite their name, Murder by Death is not some death metal band with a pension for guitar solos and double bass pedal. Murder By Death is instead an indie rock band that has distinguishing themselves with a full time cello player. On their fifth album, the band shows a slight departure in style. In 2009, Murder by Death’s lead singer Adam Turla retreated into the Tennessee wilderness with a fishing pole and a notebook to write what would become Good Morning, Magpie. Because of the method in which it was written, the album is drenched in Americana with slight more bluegrass influence than faithful MBD listeners will be used to.
Opening track “Kentucky Bourbon” sounds straight out of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?. The song would make a perfect jingle at just 33 seconds long, but as the opening track it sets the album’s tone. The album’s tone is obviously a little more old-timey and not as typically dark as Murder by Death’s previous efforts.
Not as typically dark may be an understatement, the album is downright joyous at points. “Yes” might be the poppiest song Murder by Death has ever written. The track reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival with its jaunty country-tinged rock sound. The song sticks out like a sore thumb in the context of Murder by Death’s catalog, but on the album it seems to make sense. What’s odd is the last two songs of the album turn dark and more reminiscent of Murder by Death’s previous work. While I argue that the Southern Gothic “White Noise” is the album’s best track, it seems out of place on an otherwise sunny album.
In the end, its really hard to make heads or tails of Good Morning, Magpie. The album seems so out of character for Murder by Death that fans will definitely have to readjust themselves just to accept the album. But accept it or not the album just does not have the it factor. When writing Americana pop, there has to be a certain level of catchiness to keep the listeners attention and most of the writing on Good Morning, Magpie just does not have it.
Rating: 5.8/10
MP3: Murder by Death “White Noise”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!