ONE of the most original bands to emerge from Wexford will be performing a hometown album launch gig this coming weekend.
ursed Murphy Versus the Resistance, led by author, broadcaster and musician, Peter Murphy, will showcase the new album, ‘Republic of the Weird’, at a show in The Crown Live on Saturday, November 5.
The album itself will be officially released the previous day and was preceded by a single release of the title track.
‘Republic of the Weird’ is the second album from the band, now an eight-piece ensemble, and is a follow-up to the critically acclaimed, eponymous debut in 2020.
The new album features 10 tracks and was co-produced by Murphy, Dan Comerford and Johnny Fox. It was written throughout 2020 and 2021, and recorded in Rosslare Strand during last autumn shortly after the band’s sojourn with the Culture Ireland supported ‘Here/There’ art exhibition to Wuppertal and Berlin.
Very much a Wexford recording the album was mixed by Johnny Fox the following spring, with additional production and co-writing by Kilmore duo, Basciville, on ‘This Is Not Your Love Song’, an industrial-disco banger somewhere between Leonard Cohen and Nine Inch Nails.
The sound of Cursed Murphy Versus the Resistance is somewhat unique on many fronts; not least because of the spoken word approach of vocalist Peter Murphy.
Musically, the band explores many different textures and the line-up features some of the most formidable musicians on the contemporary Irish circuit. Along with Peter Murphy on vocals, the full line-up includes: Dan Comerford (guitar); Johnny Fox (guitar / keyboards); Rebecca Gangnus (percussion); Tamara Gangnus (percussion); Jasmin Gangnus (violin / vocals / percussion); Paul Bryan (bass / percussion); and Marc Hillis (drums).
In many ways the band could be described as a head-on collision between between post-punk, performance-poetry and ambient atmospheres.
Cursed Murphy Versus the Resistance emerged in 2018 as a mash-up of post-punk, German electronic music, spoken word, industrial music, big beats, sci-fi film soundtracks, Brazilian rhythms and Brechtian punk.
The band’s debut album, which contained the singles ‘Foxhole Prayer’, ‘The Bells of Hell’ and ‘Climb’, received rave reviews from music critics while the music got a lot of support on the national airwaves.
The album also generated huge acclaim internationally and featured on the Global Garage radio show, the Big Slice (UK) and in the French magazine, Muzzart.
It was voted No. 2 album of the year by readers of The Last Mixed Tape, and No. 1 album of the year by Mike’s Music Express on Dundalk FM.
In September 2021 the collective embarked on a German mini-tour, playing Wuppertal and Berlin as part of the travelling ‘Here/There’ exhibition, supported by Culture Ireland and earlier this year they played a sold-out show in Wexford Opera House with guests, Basciville, and poet, Stephen James Smith.
Peter Murphy and Smith recorded a collaborative EP, ‘Tell It to A Tree’, which was released last December.
The new album takes the bands sound to another level and gives it an extra dimension and the level of depth that is in each of the tracks is astonishing. The album ebbs and flows in a manner that is truly captivating.
Never afraid to experiment the band always utilises a myriad of sounds and techniques to maximise the potential of each song and while there are commercial aspects to the bands music for Curse Murphy Versus the Resistance the emphasis is much more on the art of music making rather than craving commercial success.
The new record integrates orchestral elements, using analogue synthesizers and multi-tracked violin and choral parts, alongside the band’s trademark noise guitar sound and propulsive rhythms.
There are many themes explored throughout the new album, from the sinister carnival calls of ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ to the emotive angst of ‘Hold That Line’.
There are songs of love, songs of hope, and songs of war, all executed in a manner that is enticing and begs for intense scrutiny from the listener.
The way the band transfers its studio work to a live setting is legendary and those attending the launch show next weekend are in for a real treat.
Much like their recordings a Curse Murphy Versus the Resistance show is quite unlike any other music event you are likely to witness.
Speaking about the album, Murphy, highlighted some aspects of the thought pattern that went into the songs.
“’Republic of the Weird’ refers to the state we’ve been living in for the past five or six years,” he said.
“It’s about what happens when a generation of people who grew up on punk and electronic music, on dark sci-fi and speculative books and films, wake up one day to realise that their world has started to look like a present-day dystopia,” he added.
However, he also emphasised the feeling is “strangely hopeful and inspiring too”.
“We’re proud of the sound and the spirit of this record,” he said.
“It’s an album about future shock, but also hope and resilience,” he added.
It’s very fitting that the launch show will take place on the closing night of this year’s Fringe Festival, which coincides with the annual Wexford Festival Opera.