Here is the challenge before me: in a few paragraphs, I am going to tell you that the self-titled record released by Manhattan Murder Mystery a couple months ago is the best new rock record you will hear all year, and I need you to believe me.
You don’t necessarily have to believe me, I suppose, but at the very least you need to take that statement as a credible opinion. This is hard enough as it is. People read my poorly maintained blog for a myriad of reasons, but never in the four year history of Classical Geek Theatre has anyone ever emailed me or come up and said to me “Mouse, you have great taste in music. You’re almost never wrong.” On the contrary; the general consensus is that my taste is ill-considered, ill-informed, inconsistent, and generally indefensible.
So I’ve got a lot of work to do to convince you this is the best new rock record you will hear all year. I don’t care if Manhattan Murder Mystery sells a lot of copies of the record. I do not spend hours writing to this blog so that amateur artists, even ones I’ve become acquainted with, can get their music heard. I blog for me and my need for you to accept this album as a great work of art is all about me.
Why do I love this record so much? I love it because even though I come from a family that was never poor, even though I had pretty good parents, never had to pay for my college degree or even work while I was in school, even though I have a nigh-permanent safety net, a girlfriend who loves me, amazing friends, and even though I work in an entertainment industry with a bunch of rich producers and assistants to high-paid corporate television and movie studio executives… I don’t feel like I belong at all sometimes. Anywhere. I am a mutant.
I relate to this record, terribly.
I relate to its loneliness. I relate to its insecurity. No less than three songs openly wish for death. I get that. The songwriter’s best friend on this record is his fucking dog. No kidding. The pain, the suffering, the doubt, and the feeling that everyone else has got you beat and beat down bubbles up beneath every song.
And people dance when these songs are played live. The pump their fists and sing along. They launch a rebellion.
So I need you to believe me that this is the greatest new rock record you will hear all year because we’re all at war, you see, and Manhattan Murder Mystery is the best battalion of berserkers the mutant insurgents have. This record is for part-time punks. These songs validate most everything I’ve ever felt, and I can’t be alone in thinking that. I need you to love this record because I need you with me. I can’t be alone. Do you understand?
Manhattan Murder Mystery’s new self-titled record, out now on Hello My Name Is Records, is the best new rock record you will hear all year.
There’s a horrific ambulance ride, the haunting ghost of lost love obsession, and the lunchpail tragedy of a family man pro-wrestler. It’s got a song from the perspective of a dog, a song that’s really a metaphor for the songwriter, which makes it actually about the weird glint in a dog’s eye that convinces you it’s a person with a soul. “I Always Think About Dyin’” is so good and anthemic and moving that local bands were covering it before this record even came out.
Your favorite indiepop band probably doesn’t think about dying too often. If they weren’t an indiepop band, they’d just use their law degree or design logos for laundromats and accounting firms. But Matthew Teardrop needs to be in this band. It is the only thing he will ever be good for. I mean that. If he weren’t in this band, he would go out and shoot someone. He says so on the record! And I believe him. Society is better off that this man is distracted by his band. So you better pay attention lest he give up and walk away. Somebody, some innocent bystander, is really fucked if he does that.
Sonically, there’s a post-punk air that makes Manhattan Murder Mystery the rightful heir to The Movies’ mantle. There’s a lot of gnarly garage jangle and some punk rock choral cooing. It’s a loud record that generally (but not always) disregards pop song structure. Lyrically savvy, sometimes satisfying with the right rhymes and other times leaves you hanging on a poignant thought. Equal parts diary and narrative. Kinetic energy throughout. Not a skipper on this beautiful bastard of a record.
Must own. Play it repeatedly. You’ll love it.