Punk, Rock, Roots
Johnny cash, Rancid , AFI
Matthew Pratt (Guitar/Vocals) Cale Blythe (Bass) Rhys Carroll (Drums) Timothy Smith (Keys)
Wanda Jackson, Jerry lee lewis, Rancid, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chuck Berry , Frenzal Rhomb, The Cure
THE MURDERBIRDS – IT’S NOT GOING TO KILL YOU
The Murderbirds’ long-awaited debut album, It’s Not Going To Kill You, is the product of love, loss and labour… and is all the better for it.
Back in mid-2016, the band released its first EP, Karma Crow, and preparations were already well under way for a full-length album to follow some 12 months later. The (then) trio had a significant amount of demo recordings to work from but lost the lot due to a computer malfunction.
“For some reason I hadn’t backed them up,” s vocalist/guitarist, Matthew Pratt, “so we had to re-record a lot of stuff. In saying that, we were able to get much better recordings and the songs were actually rewritten quite a bit as well.”
It’s an obstacle that must have seemed pretty insurmountable upon discovery, but it reflects something of the band’s fortitude that they used the setback as an opportunity to improve in all respects.
“Getting over that hurdle was the biggest thing and it’s all about a learning curve at the end of the day,” Matt says. “Because it’s all independently recorded and produced, we’re really doing everything ourselves and learning a lot along the way. It’s a positive outcome to be honest.”
As such, It’s Not Going ToKill You is both an advancement and a different kind of statement to what Pratt, Cale Blythe (bass) and Rhys Carroll (percussion) have made before, whether on the Karma Crow EP or the since-disappeared demo tracks of yore. The Closing track, Back About Dawn, was written some six years ago but shines today as a song given new light through an older window.
“I’m glad that we have held onto the songs because we have really worked on them over the years,” Pratt explains. “Particularly Back About Dawn, we were almost going to turf it, but I got my friend Elise Hudspith from The Wolfbats to do a duo vocal on it with me. It just gave the song new life and made it relevant to who we are now. Everything is come together now and all the songs seem to work perfectly with their arrangements.”
Other songs such as the attention-getting single, Dance In The Yard and the romantic psychobilly of Staying In benefitted from a high degree of endurance, stickability and maturity, as the songs were persistently refreshed, worked on in rehearsal and live-tested at gigs.
The recruitment of keys player, Timothy Smith, has also proved to be a sonic revelation.
“The songs have come to life with that extra element,” Pratt says as he prepares a hot bowl of soon-to-be soggy Weetbix. “Vagabond Blues has some really nice piano on it. Monster Is You has really nice organ-sounds coming through and Tale Told, which is a real psychobilly number, was pretty bland before Tim’s organ was introduced to the mix.”
“When the organ came in, we had a lot of reworking in the jam room to do. But it all came together and sounds even better than what we first imagined it could.”
While Pratt is the songwriter, he readily points out that the whole band hear and give feedback on the strengths of each song, which must be enhanced in order for them to rise to their greatest potential.
“The dynamic of the band is better than it has ever been, because we’ve learnt so much about each others capabilities and aspirations in terms of our own artistic expression,” he says.
While The Murderbirds have emerged in recent years as a rock’n roll band with psychobilly influences, It’s Not Going To Kill You is an album brimming with pop/punk, ska-punk, country and surf-guitar flavours, mixed with horror film samples on songs such as Back About Dawn and Grand Lad to add to the shock value. Even though some songs were almost miraculously saved from oblivion, 12 tracks remain from the 22 that were originally queued up. The result has been that greater quality and diversity has risen to the top of a tantalisingly fresh rock’n-punk pie. With the help of additional mixing by Jay Huxtable of Oracle Sound and Ben Violante there’s no doubt that It’s Not Going To Kill You just comes right at you.
“We really want to make a statement with the diversity expressed in this album,” Pratt says. “What we didn’t want is to have every song be of the same genre or fit into a perfect arrangement. I think both fans and new listeners will appreciate how the songs are quite different but still work together despite such variety.
“Through it all, not to mention restarting the album 18 months ago, I think we have found a deeper understanding of our playing and production styles. Ultimately, I feel we’ve wisened up to the real potential of our combined creative efforts. We are really pleased with the finished product and I think our fans will be too.”
It’s Not Going ToKill You is launched in Perth at The Rosemount Hotel on April 27 as part of The Southern Stomp Festival, also featuring Catzilla, Traumaboys (MELB), Mossy Fog, The Psychotic Reactions, Circus Carnis, The Moonshine Stills, Savannah & The Strays, The Hot Spell, The Tramp Rods, The Bone Kickers, King Fez, Rusty Pinto & The Blue Flames and more.