Gather round friends, romans, countrymen, and lend me your ears. We’re going way back to a time when bluegrass music was great. What’s that? Wicked Lines and Veins by Murder Murder was released in 2017? Well I’ll be. This album hits hard on all things that make music amazing, from their sheer command of the instruments to the outright storytelling of each song. Let us dive deep and see what we can find.
Before we go any farther, I have to say: Answer your emails, bands! I almost didn’t get accurate information because nobody would write back to me. It’s fucking frustrating!
Anyway, I digress.
First and foremost, I love the songwriting that is showcased throughout this album. There are two main components to each song; the musical arrangements, and the story behind it all. Murder Murder do a very good job of blending the two. A few yarns spun are about being a rural farmer, like in “Sharecropper’s Son,” or the double cross of the “Cold Bartender’s Wife.” Each song brings a solid set of lyrics to wrap the story up nicely. It’s done through crafty word play, and by great use of the triple vocalists. The entire album features the roving carousel of Barry Miles, Sam Cassio, and Jonathan Danyliw on lead vocals. Each person brings something different to the table that makes all the songs stand out from each other. Miles leads the grit and vocal cyclone during “Pale Rider Blues,” while Danyliw brings the smooth, sombre cowboy touch to “Reesor County Fugitive.”
I enjoyed the way each song was crafted as well. They touch on the classics, but no song drags on long enough for you to tire of the melody. This is done by adding subtle mix-ups through their recordings. One good example can be found at the 3:30 mark in “Sharecropper’s Son.” It’s a switch that feels at home, all nestled and snug by the driving percussion of Steph Duschesne.
So there you have it. It’s a great album that only loses points because I feel it’s a song or two too long. The production value is tight, the melodies fair, the songwriting astute, and their souls have been laid bare upon each track. Give it a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below. As always, I look forward to your hot takes.
Written by Aaron Deck
*edited by Kate Erickson