Irish post-punk quintet The Murder Capital set to take the stage at Cambridge Junction’s J1
When the Cambridge Independent first spoke to The Murder Capital in 2019, the Irish post-punk quintet had yet to release a single – but had generated a significant amount of hype based on word-of-mouth from those who had attended their live performances.
A live recording of a song titled More Is Less, which went viral on YouTube, also helped the band – James McGovern (vocals), Damien Tuit (guitars), Cathal “Pump” Roper (guitars/keyboards), Gabriel Paschal Blake (bass) and Diarmuid Brennan (drums) – to build a formidable reputation only a year into its existence.
Back then they performed at The Portland Arms, now they are set to take the stage at the Cambridge Junction’s J1, no less, the largest of its three venues.
A lot has certainly happened since 2019. Pump Roper remembers it as a “weird time” but fun. After all, many bands say the ‘struggle’ and the driving up and down motorways ‘chasing the dream’ is the best part (when I spoke to Gabriel in 2019, he and the others were in a van on their way to a gig in Oxford).
The Murder Capital released their debut album, When I Have Fears, in August 2019, a month after they had played The Portland Arms.
“We got six months or so out of that album and then Covid hit,” recalls Pump, who directed the video for the group’s latest single, Crying, without any previous experience, “we hadn’t done the full cycle; we’d just gone over to America for two gigs and we had to go back home.”
Fast forward three years and 2023 could be described as a ‘breakout year’ for The Murder Capital.
Alongside the release of their second album, Gigi’s Recovery, in January, they played a 16-date US tour, as well as appearing at the famed Coachella music and arts festival for the first time.
The band had a packed schedule over the summer, with more than 30 festival performances, including Glastonbury, Primavera, Reading and Leeds, Latitude, Electric Picnic, and End of the Road.
Gigi’s Recovery received much critical acclaim upon its release, Uncut magazine hailing it as: “A massive evolution... they bend guitar music into eerie new shapes”, while Mojo magazine called it “an electrifying second outing”.
On the subject of the title, Pump says: “It kind of came around in a funny way… we were rehearsing at [Dublin-based rehearsal studios] Yellow Door, and outside there’s this abandoned garage and at the front of it, it says ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ and the joke’s passed around, like ‘That’ll be album two’, and it just kind of stuck...
“And it came to mean more to us because all of us had our own troubles during Covid and the word ‘recovery’ kind of meant a lot to us, like this idea of returning to a place of strength – it’s not the same place you were there before, but it’s returning with the experience of what you’ve gone through.
“We thought let’s just have the character be Gigi – it’s like one being for the five of us be this character of Gigi.”
Pump believes the second album – number one in Ireland and number 16 in the UK – “is a lot more dense” than their first effort.
“We were a lot more consumed with the idea of textures and just having really busy and cinematic songs...” says Pump.
“I’d say Gigi comes more from the five of us, whereas When I Have Fears, lyrically, comes from James – his experience at the time. I think Gigi’s kind of a marker to what the five of us went through during those years.”
The Murder’s Capital’s current jaunt, their biggest UK and European tour to date, is titled ‘The Clown’s Reflection Tour’, the name coming from a lyric on The Lie Becomes the Self, track seven on Gigi’s Recovery.
The group also have a Discord channel, where fans can chat to them. It can be accessed via their Instagram page.
[Read more: Talk Show: a band of ‘unstoppable intensity’]