One view is that Murder Ford Monument is a promising group rather like another group called The National. That’s unhelpful if you’ve never heard The National, but I gather it is something to do with the lilting songs and baritone singer. A cynic could suggest they sound like hipster buzz; songs loaded with portent, dragged out into quasi-epic length, mixed as if to intentionally obscure key words. Maybe this is how mystery now sounds, but aggravatingly, the audible words are mainly disappointing or even unintentionally hilarious: “You sat smoking yourself to death, again”.
Of the best songs on this self-titled release, “Black Moon Lake” has a thrusting dynamic, a desperate, bruised, world-weary sensibility and a descending feeling which propels things quite nicely to the 2:35 point. Unfortunately the song lasts for another four and a half minutes. One of the shorter efforts, “The King is Dead”, has a ragged feel, it’s short of glorious with guitar squeezing out sparks and the singer yelling and mumbling to good purpose. However, the lyrics and brief frenzy are unconvincing. “Hollowed Out Tree Trunks” begins with excellent male/female voices but fades into ennui. Murder Ford Monument quotes compatriot, Leonard Cohen, with the line “We poured across the border”, but they could learn the value of brevity and clarity from him. There are some languid moments on this album and some of the anger, euphoria, and passion it’s reasonable to expect from a young band. An unsigned group, with perhaps not unlimited money for production, has done a good job in creating some atmosphere; but it costs nothing to avoid cluttering your songs. The silent part is free, like the white on which I’m typing. There is promise and skill here, and I am betting Murder Ford Monument has not found its own voice yet.