Johnny Cash infused with indie rock, cello's and distorted guitars. This is the framework that creates the indie-rock album, In Bocca Al Lupo. After losing their keyboardist, who was a key ingredient to the sound of the previous records by Murder by Death, they came back stronger. While this album is not as dark as their previous albums, they know how to make an equally compelling record. I was on a chat with them a couple days before the release of this CD and they said how it was much easier with out a keyboardist, which was a bit intriguing. Regardless, the outcome to follow was a beautiful surprise.
The record starts out with the strong with “Boy Decided,” which immediately shows the maturity of the album and the lengths that they have gone with out their keyboardist. With pulsating drums throughout the whole song, and a catchy chorus, this song immediately hooks you on for a great ride that is attained for some time. “One More Notch” picks up where “Boy Decided” left. It starts out with a grinding cello intro that turns into an almost salsa-like sound that is armed with an infectious chorus. Overall, a very catchy and dance-y song with soft acoustical guitar in the background, but mainly focusing everything but that.
“Dead Men and Sinners,” silimilar to a rant on a pirate ship leads into their single, “Brother.” Easily the most accesible, “Brother” is extremely soothing with a muted acoustic guitar and a distorted guitar in the background for most of the song. Like “One More Notch,” extremely dance-y and fun to listen to. This song is a true anthem to brothers alike, because it states how no matter how bad things may be with your brother, there is only one of them, and that one is the one for you.
If you have heard the song “We Suck Your Blood” by Radiohead, “Dynamite Mine” is some what similar. With the extremely slow tempo, clapping throughout, it is certainly a depressing song, but the cello gives a glimmer of optimism for something that is more pleasing and happy. The “Organ Grinder” is armed with strong drumming and the usual singing with not much going on in the background; this song shines in its own light. This CD really reminds me of any pirate movie and perhaps with be on the next 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie. This song ends with a medley of horns and it makes it all the more beautiful.
Adam Turla provides some jailbreak rock-esque music with “Sometimes the Line Walks You.” With the chorus singing ‘sometimes you walk the line, and sometimes it walks you’ which is a direct reference to getting in trouble with the law and taking the heat for what you've done. Like most songs on the album is it very catchy and has a western feel to it. Next, “Raw Deal,” which is modest song at first creating a mystifing feel to it, turns for the better. As it slowly builds up, the song stops in its tracks. The next thing you know there is an explosion. It is one of the more reminiscent songs that reminds you of the last two records they produced. After, “The Big Sleep” is a beaute of song with a slow tempo to a build up to a glorious horn medley to cap the song off. Everything builds up and then just like the big sleep, it dies off. “The Big Sleep” is a great lyrical song with just stunning elegance attached.
The last real hit off of this album is “Shiola.” I swear I am listening to Johnny Cash in this song. He sounds almost identical in this song, and I'm sure he would make Johnny Cash proud. The lyrics are moving and the chorus is loud and dramatic which builds up to all of the hype this CD has created for me. To be frank about it, the simplicity of the song makes it all that much better because the lyrics speak for themselves. The next two songs are good songs, but not overly impressive compared to the rest of the album. “The Devil Drives” is noteworthy at the end with the repetitious lyrics 'There's still time, start again' it really closes the deal with the song, how it is brought up in a choir format with a vast array of people singing in the background.
To date, In Bocca Al Lupo is Murder by Death's most accessible CD and certainly enjoyable. They started out with songs that featured instrumentals, but they have moved on into another direction, a direction that captures an audience that they once had plus more. This album brings out who Murder by Death are and what they are about.