Murder City Devils

    R.I.P. [Live]


    Best-of albums are the easy way out for broken-up bands to grab a little extra cash from their fans and put off that job search a little longer. It’s an easy process: pick a few popular songs from each album, throw them in random order and stamp some sparkly, attention-grabbing emblems on the cover to make something stale and old look bright and new and worth the cash.


    Instead of slipping into this structured best-of practice, the aptly named R.I.P. for the now-deceased Murder City Devils embodies the band’s rowdy sound with a recording of its final show on October 31, 2001 in its hometown of Seattle.


    The live album is, thankfully, not nit-picked to perfection. Short song introductions from the stage are not omitted for consumer-friendly listening and the sound, like the band, is rough, scratchy, and a little off-tune at times. For a band that mixes heavy garage sounds and fast early punk beats with (often intoxicated) band members, the sound would be oddly out of place any other way.


    Lead singer Spencer Moody can often sound like a slowly dying animal, especially when he moans melancholy songs as “Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum” off the more gothic Thelema. Earlier tracks, such as “I Want a Lot Now” from 1998’s Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, remain the best on this live conglomeration. On these, Moody trades in the unnerving howls for a purely deep metal-rock singing and low screams. The high-pitched keyboard notes add an eerie sound in a circus-clown-gone-wrong kind of way, but they can also become a repetitive annoyance by the end of the album.


    The point of the album is to imbed into memory the vast range of musical sounds the band developed during their tenure. This live album comes with the faulty sound recording of all live albums, and while the concert arena is not the best place for recorded sounds of any kind, vocal or instrumental, it is, instead, the best place for any and all kinds of nostalgia. Still, it’s worth first checking out some proper records, like Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts and 2000’s In Name and Blood.


    Murder City Devils Web site

    Sub Pop Records Web site