Young guitar bands have enjoyed something of a renaissance over recent years and The Murder Capital are one of the latest acts to find themselves very much in the spotlight. Hailing from Dublin, the four piece released their debut album When I Have Fears last year and are quickly making a name for themselves as a visceral band that boast urgent, impassioned songs. There’s a palpable buzz outside the 100 Club as punters queue to get in, exchanging stories of where and when they last saw them. The band are at that favourable point in their career where they’ve experienced rapid growth yet still have momentum that will see them further propelled into bigger venues.
They begin tonight in thrillingly direct style with their confrontational call-to-arms More Is Less. Watching them play it feels like the musical equivalent of driving down a narrow, winding road at breakneck speed in the dark, all excitement with an added hint of danger. The early fast pace is maintained with For Everything with its serrated edges and jack-knifed guitars.
It is arguably their slower songs however that go furthest in distinguishing them from the field, in particular the slate grey bleakness of Slowdance I and Slowdance II. These are built on a scorched earth base and both have a lean physicality and air of menace. The grinding tension in the escalating outro of the latter even has an upweighted post-punk-post-rock feel. Green & Blue follows soon after, mixing taut, oppressive guitars with downcast, disaffected vocals and proving how much they benefit by not over-complicating the formula.
They’ve been compared to Joy Division and the anguished Love, Love, Love is the closest they get to them. As frontman James McGovern sings “in the rain the romance lay, in the rain the romance stays, maybe in the rain the romance will say goodbye” claustrophobia levels rise as the walls begin to close in.
There’s something primal and almost pugilistic about the way McGovern imparts his lyrics and he shows he’s already mastered the art of casting withering, sideways assessment of the crowd as he sings. The incendiary Don’t Cling To Life hurtles from the stage, eliciting forward lunges from the crowd towards McGovern and during final song Feeling Fades he returns the favour, diving into the crowd, and is carried high as he delivers the barbed lines. It feels the most natural way to end the show – a temporary physical union between band and fans. They may be far from the finished article but tonight proved The Murder Capital very much deserve all the acclaim coming their way.