Review Summary: On your front porch dreaming on a cold, dark, and starry desert-mountain night.....
Imagine for a moment that you're living on Earth's last leg for life; a barren wasteland surrounds you. Imagine you have the means to leave, to escape somewhere, to outer space. Imagine that something, perhaps someone, is holding you here by the heart but your head says "go". What would you do" Now imagine that you don't need to imagine this scenario or read this inadequate review because this story has been already more beautifully told through the gothic-folk narrative that is The Other Shore
For those of you still reading instead of actually listening to the album I guess I ought to go into some more detail. Murder by Death, for those unfamiliar, are a band mostly known for their storytelling. In the case of The Other Shore
, this manifests as a concept that spans the entire album. The band excel in achieving their storytelling not solely based on lyrics, but also matching the tone of the story to their musical composition. Opener "Alas" is just one excellent example where the grandiose yet somber folk tones paint the picture of the narrator's difficult decision.
Through the rest of the album, the styles are varied, again connecting key points in the story, but also effectively keeping every song change interesting. As "True Dark" thunders in, we are treated to a more driving rocker, while "Travelin' Far" rolls out a more soulful tone to complement the narrator's introspection following his departure. The aptly titled "Space" again goes on to represent expansiveness and introspection, this time bringing back more of the folk sound.
I could go on like this for each and every song. There is no way to describe these properties more accurately without spoiling the story for you before you get the chance to be amazed for yourself. The only real foreseeable drawback to this album is its immediacy. It is an album that requires a bit of investment in order to figure it out, but it also pays out quite well. For those who like a good space western or maybe a wilderness-heavy post-apocalypse vibe, this album should be right up your alley. Even if you don't, not many concept albums out there achieve this level of cohesion between music and lyrics, so there should still be something for everyone.