Bloomington, Indiana's Murder By Death overcomes aesthetic absurdity — picture the Crash Test Dummies employing cellos to transform a barn dance into a slamming mosh pit — by dint of pure excess. The string section, the shoegaze nostalgia, the prickly new-wave guitar licks, the cow punk cloppity-clip of the rhythms and the ghoulish grumble of Adam Turla's baritone — none of it should work together, let alone build to dark, thrilling crescendos, as it all did on the terrific "Comin' Home," from last year's Red of Tooth and Claw. The album marked a surprising advance on MBD's deathtwang militancy, courtesy of Trina Shoemaker's tone-rich, sound-stacked production and Turla's tightening songwriting. After nine years together, it's anybody's guess what's next, but fans of skin-inked, Americana noir will want to keep up.
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