Father Murphy, ...and He told us to turn to the Sun [Boring Machines, 2008]

Father Murphy is a truly Italian band, calling upon two of Italy's great legacies in their music. Clangorous guitar through slapback reverb evokes the bleak spaghetti western landscape while somber chanting in three-part harmony colors the music with the solemnity of a Catholic mass. Obtusely delivered obscure lyrics call to mind Syd Barrett, and reinforce the naming of the trio's Madcap Collective (a cooperative Northern Italian record label/distributor). The Italian accents and Rev. Freddie Murphy's uniquely nasal voice are quite charming, but don't detract at all from the seriousness and intensity of the singing, even with such curious lyrics as, "You are such a back spine to me!" or "It ain't monks with no cap." Sparely instrumentated, the vocals and guitar are usually backed up with nothing other than harmonium chords and emphatic downbeats from the minimal drums. The best tracks ("Go Sinister", "So Now You Have to Choose Between My Two (Black) Lungs") set a heavy mood with three-voice chanting over one- or two-chord somber desert dirges. "So Now You Have to..." is actually the second half of "I Ran Out of Fuel and a Viper Just Bit Me," which exemplifies Father Murphy's off-kilter take on a more traditional rock music approach. This two-part song ends with a fantastic stoner rock guitar riff worthy of Boris or the Melvins. "At That Time I Guess We Misunderstood" ends with a brief section reminiscent of the White Stripes in which Freddie screams out vocals in his wonderfully nasal, Italian-accented voice over sparse, heavy guitar and drum accompaniment. I wish this album had a few full songs of this sort of music! A really enjoyable album from start to finish, this is Father Murphy's most consistent, and possibly their strongest musical statement to date.

3, 4-5, 7
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