Murder City Devils – In Name and Blood

Murder City Devils
In Name and Blood

All hellfire and brimstone, the Murder City Devils unleash torrents of rye-soaked, blistering noise on In Name and Blood. Beaten along mercilessly by Leslie Hardy’s warbling, drunken keyboard incantations, In Name and Blood will have you quickly reaching for a bottle of cheap booze, your lucky strikes, and possibly even some brass knuckles or a shiny new switchblade. This is bloodthirsty, lean punk to plot your next back-alley murder to.

Musically, these guttersnipes bite off sizeable chunks of early Iggy pop, the late, great Laughing Hyenas, and maybe even a bit of Fugazi and Unsane. This isn’t just plagarism however – the Murder City Devils sound unlike any other punk band out there. With Spencer Moody’s dangerously phlegmatic vocals clawing their way through thick, greasy walls of guitar, muscular bass and bone-jarring drums, the band possesses a fully realized sound all their own, one that breathes deeply of smoky roadhouse blues. Then there’s that infernal organ – grinding, incessant waves of teeth-chattering intensity weaving their way maniacally through In Name and Blood’s sinister tableau. Lyrically, the Murder City Devils draw from the Jim Thompson school of pulp fiction: a barrage of murder, jealous rage, train wrecks and rivers of ethanol fill out the narratives. Bukowski might have liked the Devils had he not been so enamored of classical music.

A telling moment occurred in the store I bought this in (in Burlington, Vt. of all places). A young punkette sporting a radioactive hue of red hair and lots of tatoos crowned the Murder City Devils “…the greatest band in the world…” I don’t know about that, but this poisonous little record is one of the best things I’ve heard all year. Smart, furious, and tightly knit, these tatoo-encrusted deviants deserve their rye served up in only the finest crystal glasses.