After three increasingly impressive and enthralling EPs, it is fair to say that the debut album from US rock/pop band Murder Shoes has been a highly anticipated proposition, and equally honest to say that now here, Daydreaming more than lives up to hopes and the potential fuelling previous encounters from the Minneapolis quintet. Once more, the band weaves tantalising songs from strands of indie, surf, and dark pop rock, evolving from them perpetually mesmeric and at times sinisterly ethereal yet tenaciously mischievous proposals. The result is an album based on sonic flirtation and rich imagination which lights ears and appetite with a sublime hand of adventure.
From the first meeting of guitarists Derek Van Gieson and Chris White, the seeds of Murder Shoes have quickly and potently blossomed into a creatively stirring proposition. Writing a thick body of songs together bred on and blending a broad array of inspirations, flavours, and styles, the pair recruited vocalist/keyboardist Tess Weinberg to their emerging project before completing its line-up with drummer Elliot Manthey and bassist Tim Heinlein. Within a year first EP Cash On Fire was unveiled, December 2014 its release with a self-titled successor arriving the May of 2015 and the Little Lost EP two months later, all through Land Ski Records who now bring us Daydreaming.
Your Friend Kimmie starts the band’s new temptation off, opening on an instantly alluring bass coaxing soon embraced by surf lined caresses of guitar. The smouldering invitation is increased as the warm siren-esque harmonic tones of Weinberg gently lay upon the spreading strands of sonic enterprise and low key but pungent rhythmic bait. A sultry serenade fondling ears and imagination, the song makes a potent start for Daydreaming but is soon overshadowed by firstly the inescapable catchiness of So What May and in turn the haunting romance of Bad Reputation. The first of the pair saunters with a spicily melodic smile and infectious rhythms, its breath carrying a nineties scent which only adds to its easy pull on a keenly growing appetite for the release, whilst the second sways with a seduction of slim but quickly gripping hooks amidst a mesh of melodic tendrils cast by the guitars.
Recent single Nineteeneightyone strolls in with an energetic and creative virulence next, beats and vocals colluding to enslave ears as sonic endeavour paints the song’s canvas with evocative and fiery imagination. Both Van Gieson and White craft a fascinating picture with their invention, holding their tempting own against the ever beguiling delivery of Weinberg. Equally though, as shown further by Secrets, Heinlein and Manthey conjure an enticement of rhythms and darker shadows which simply and skilfully accentuates the melodic humidity and elegance around them. In Secrets the pair court the flames of warmth lining the surf fuzziness with a darkly provocative prowl, offering a jazzy contrast to the more fiery aspects shimmering boldly around them.
New single Girls Named Benji marks another step up in temptation and excitement within Daydreaming, its Throwing Muses meets The Only Ones like canter, an epidemic of inciting rhythms and sonic drama around a just as keenly delivered and tenacious vocal prowess and attitude. The track is as compelling as it comes and swiftly matched by the outstanding Little Lost. Once again instantly the rhythm section captivates and enslaves, and once more the guitars create a sonic and slightly scuzzy tapestry of rich enticement to seduce the firmer enticement. There is a feel of Belly and Breeders to the song but, as expected, it is twisted and woven into the rousing and here raucous ingenuity of Murder Shoes to addictive effect.
The surf fuelled beauty of Reefer And Pizza seduces ears next; it’s romancing sway like the sun on a lively sea but with a volatility that will have its thrilling say. Another major pinnacle that provokes a hint of Martha and the Muffins in thoughts, it makes ways for the album’s title track, a crystalline kiss of light with rolling beats and fields of sonic and melodic sultriness. Again there is that steely and dramatic underbelly at play, seeping along and into the textures of the song bringing a subdued and thrilling theatre of darkness with underlying intimidation.
Can You Sea Me brings its masterful stickiness of evocative enterprise and melodic intoxication next, the song maybe eclipsed by those just before but smothering the listener in celestial and earthy contrast for great pleasure before How Does It Feel closes the album with a similar weave within its own engrossing character of sound and imagination. It is a refreshing end to another excellent and thrilling offering from Murder Shoes. The album continues where the previous EPs left off but also shares new depth in sound and exploration along the way. Daydreaming is like a musical lover you will only lay back and think about for ages after tasting its creative kiss, that a success in anyone’s book.
Daydreaming is released November 6th via Land Ski Records and @ https://murdershoes.bandcamp.com/album/daydreaming
Pete RingMaster 06/11/2015
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