We Talked About Murder – Expecting the Explosion

We Talked About Murder
Expecting the Explosion

It took me a few listens to warm to We Talked About Murder’s new album. I think I was expecting something that felt more Midwestern, something akin to the Casket Lottery or Boys Life, as opposed to something that feels distinctly more DC-style, akin to Fugazi or The Dismemberment Plan. Expectations aside, Expecting the Explosion is much more about rock than falling into a particular region’s tried-and-true indie-rock sound. So don’t expect Fugazi wanna-bes here.
Instead, you get thick production, giving an edge to the vocals and guitars alike, with an emphasis on loud guitars and vocals that verge on the Hot Water Music style – just gruff enough, but not outright shouted. Everything on this album sounds edgy, purposefully not in a clean produced way but dished out with a kind of thick, crunchy production feel that lends the whole album a darker, more booze-infused sound. With stellar guitarwork, unique vocals, and an intense songwriting style, the Texas band’s latest album – and first full-length release – grew on me quickly.
The mixture of lead and backing vocals on the opener, “Steppin’ Out,” clearly showcases the band’s unique approach. There’s a bit more of a herky-jerky feel to “Promise Play” – think Q and Not U, at times. Appealing, I think, to the more emo-minded fans, “Gone Wrong” feels purposefully looser, more gritty, with an emphasis on urgent guitars and vocals like, “haven’t cried in so long / will you cry with me?” The melodic guitars on “Beta Valentine” nicely break up the more aggressive, Fugazi-like feel, and my favorite song, “Andante Please,” combines all of their influences on one driving, powerful rock track that shines because of its restraint as well. Perhaps the band’s shining moment is the closer, the lengthy “Kiddie Pool conversations,” which combines crystal clear guitar with the thicker sound, bringing in aggressive post-hardcore with more melodic rock, and even the vocals are the best here, as the singer’s clear voice sings, “and as we lay here to the day / tomorrow we will wash the shame away.”
The band’s western sensibilities come to the fore at times as well. On “The Way it Goes,” the vocals have a bit of a countryish feel, adding a nice touch to a more punk-based song. And the guitars on the instrumental “Marathon Set” have the kind of Midwestern emo feel I was expecting. “Pass it Around” also brings to mind the Midwestern punk sound, intense and angry and loud.
All in all, Expecting the Explosion is a very good album. It rocks, and that goes a long way in my book. The band will definitely appeal to fans of the other bands mentioned here, as it draws heavily upon similar styles, but the production quality and vocal approach gives We Talked About Murder their own fresh feel. Definitely a strong effort