Album Review
Murder By Death - Good Morning, Magpie Album Cover

Murder By Death - Good Morning, Magpie

Reviewed by
Murder By DeathGood Morning, Magpie
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Record Label: Vagrant
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Isolated from the outside world, a man takes little more than a tent, a fishing pole, and a notebook deep into the Tennessee Mountains. He does nothing but hike, cook, or write. With no one to speak to, all he has is his thoughts and spacious terrain outside his tent. It is within these constraints that he creates his masterpiece.

It would be natural for you to think that this is the concept for Murder By Death’s fifth record (second for Vagrant), Good Morning, Magpie, especially since the last three records followed a specific theme. But think again. What I described to you was singer/guitarist Adam Turla’s 2009 retreat to write the new record. In fact, Magpie doesn’t have a theme; it’s a record composed of 11 tracks that can stand on their own.

Self-produced by the indie-folk outfit, Good Morning, Magpie contains some of the band’s most upbeat material, as well as some of their darkest work. Deep and well textured, the album is woven intricately with the threads of good times and bad. The first two tracks are an introduction to good times spent with alcohol. “Kentucky Bourbon” is a short intro that leads beautifully into “As Long As There Is Whiskey In The World,” which paced nicely by Sarah Balliet’s cello and features one of the best chorus’ in the Murder By Death’s canon. “On The Dark Streets Below” has a bit of a Latin flavor to it, as Spanish cabaret-styled horns and Matt Armstrong’s bass lines create a tango with the devil.

Balliet’s cello is the backbone of “King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs,” a slow track that’ll groove smoothly through your ears. On “Piece by Piece,” Turla speaks through the eyes of an old soul, while the title track is the ideal Murder By Death song. The cello is poignant, drummer Dagan Thogerson sets the pace, and Turla’s metaphors are rich and his voice soars. “Yes” may be the most fun song the band has ever composed, as guest vocalist Amber Frost's sweet voice backs Turla’s gruff tone. Armstrong’s plays a slide bass that gives the track a cool edge, while Thogerson’s drum part adds character. “Foxglove” is the closest thing we’ll get to a Murder By Death love song, as Turla waxes poetically about a lover and his isolation. “The Day” dramatically closes out Magpie; its vivid lyricism and vibrant composition will make it a definite fan favorite.

Good Morning, Magpie may be the strongest album in Murder By Death’s incredible discography. The variety of the disc sets it apart from previous albums, and while the quartet maintain some elements from older work, the band tried a lot of new things, took a different writing approach, and nailed it. Once again, Murder By Death has managed to encompass listeners with their most personal album yet.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Kentucky Bourbon
2. As Long As There Is Whiskey In The World
3. On The Dark Streets Below
4. King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs
5. Piece by Piece
6. Good Morning, Magpie
7. You Don’t Miss Twice (When You’re Shavin’ With A Knife)
8. Yes
9. Foxglove
10. White Noise
11. The Day
Produced by: Murder By Death

Murder By Death is:
Adam Turla – vocals/guitar
Matt Armstrong – bass
Sarah Balliet – cello/keys
Dagan Thogerson – drums

Official Website; Official Myspace; Official AP.net Profile

Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 30
06:22 AM on 04/09/10
also ice cream.
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SteveLikesMusic's Avatar
Not to be a debbie downer, but it's not Sarah's voice on 'Yes'

The booklet says it's Amber Frost
06:23 AM on 04/09/10
Thomas Balkcom
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Thomas Balkcom's Avatar
great review and a great album. Good work, Drew.
06:24 AM on 04/09/10
Dr. Acula
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Dr. Acula's Avatar
Love this album...wish this band got more love, they are making some of the best music out there right now.
06:26 AM on 04/09/10
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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Drew Beringer's Avatar
Not to be a debbie downer, but it's not Sarah's voice on 'Yes'

The booklet says it's Amber Frost
boo the booklet that I should've read!
07:14 AM on 04/09/10
Thomas Nassiff
retired staff member
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Good review, Drew. Looking forward to hearing this when I get some time.
07:51 AM on 04/09/10
Regular Member
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DanielJames's Avatar
I need to check this out now.
08:11 AM on 04/09/10
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CellarGhosts's Avatar
Band is so good, I love this album. Nice review, Drew.
10:13 AM on 04/09/10
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mycuban's Avatar
Good album from a consistently good band.
10:14 AM on 04/09/10
The World Won't Listen.
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GoWaitInTheCar's Avatar
The vocal production of this album is on the same level as a lot of the instruments. From time to time Adam blends in with the instruments and it bothers me. I don't think this disc is very strong. I was rather disappointed with it, to be honest.
10:30 AM on 04/09/10
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
such a good cd. bravo. bravo
12:48 PM on 04/09/10
Tec Mason
Christian. Market Anarchist.
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Tec Mason's Avatar
One of the best bands out there currently. I still think I like Red of Tooth and Claw the most, but this album is still fantastic. I can't wait to see the growth of this band in the future.
12:58 PM on 04/09/10
Up all night, and down all day
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thesollopsist's Avatar
01:17 PM on 04/09/10
Grace and Peace
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inthemidst's Avatar
Nice review. This band is much better live than on recording, but I'll give this a chance.
01:30 PM on 04/09/10
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
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Matthew Tsai's Avatar
Good review. Can't wait to check this out. MBD are great.

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