Murder by Death
Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon - Bloodshot Records
FILTER Grade: 74%
By Zack Kraimer on September 13, 2012
Despite its relative melodic monotony, Murder By Death’s Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon spans a surprising array of timbres. The group’s sixth release lacks the urgency that made their past efforts exciting, but it’s redeemed in part by their technical proficiency.
Lyrical cello runs are a highlight throughout, and newbie Scott Brackett’s chops as a multi-instrumentalist are impressive. Adam Turla’s Johnny Cash is pretty convincing, but he would do well to lay off the impressions. The quintet has a knack for cultivating an ambience, but save for moments of neatly arranged indie sheen their sound is left in the dust of the Americana revival.
John Congleton's (St. Vincent, Black Mountain) production is pristine, but that’s not necessarily the right direction for the album. A little dirt would have made their rough n’ tumble shtick more believable.
The reality is that Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon is the musical equivalent of a grape soda—it tastes familiar, but it's just not quite a grape.