Passionate Dublin post-punkers, already evolving into something altogether more colourful – The Murder Capital talks about their upcoming album, Gigi’s Recovery in our JANUARY 2023 issue of Uncut, available to buy here.
The Murder Capital ended 2019 on a roll. The Dublin quintet’s powerful debut, When I Have Fears, had reached the Top 20 on the back of a string of great reviews. Their subsequent tour of the UK and Europe was an intense but celebratory affair, gigs often ending with singer James McGovern carried above the audience’s heads. Then their momentum was suddenly checked by the pandemic.
“Everything had happened very quickly for us,” McGovern tells Uncut. “That tour was very special, a very precious memory. We never thought it would be closing a chapter.” The band were just two dates into a US tour when the lockdown curtain fell. It’s taken them three years to return, after what began as a classic ‘difficult second album’ struggle turned into a beneficial period of reflection. “We’re very grateful to have been able to go away on a creative level and shape the future,” McGovern says. “It was important for us to evolve. There was a lot of conversation about textures, atmospheres and adding as much colour as we can.”
Second album Gigi’s Recovery is the result. If When I Have Fears – heralded as a modern update of Joy Division – was bleak and driven, the follow-up is more expansive, less monochrome, featuring sampled sounds as well as guitars, bass and drums, with influences including Scott Walker and Leonard Cohen. The debut was informed by suicide and death, but Gigi’s Recovery is more of an emotional kaleidoscope. “The first album was so deeply focused through the lens of pain and grief that at the beginning of writing the new record I felt like an imposter,” the singer and lyricist admits. “It felt in some ways ridiculous to be writing about anything else.”
Gradually, though, new themes emerged. “It started to unfurl into a diary of our lives over the last two years. There are shimmers of the further past and ideas of the future. A lot of this record is posing a question to oneself: what kind of life do you want to live and who do you want to be? Who are you willing to give your time to and who do you want to fall in love with?”
Writing began in Dublin in May 2020. The band had spells in the Donegal countryside and remote Wexford, before decamping to London in 2021. “That shifted the dial. It was the first time we properly socialised in any capacity, and that immediately changed the input. The first album was about death and in turn the second album became about life.”
The album’s title comes from the key song, “Gigi’s Recovery”. “I like the idea of writing a letter to someone you’ve loved or your younger self and burning it,” McGovern explains. “It’s cathartic, and of course the definition of recovery is to return to a place of strength.” His favourite track is “Ethel”, on which he visits a “crossroads where you have the chance to change the way you’re living” – although he insists the song’s visions of future family life shouldn’t be taken literally. “I will not be having a child any time soon!” chuckles the 27-year-old. “We’ve ditched the mad partying and other things that were holding us back, but there’s a lot of rock’n’rolling in me yet.”
Gigi’s Recovery is out on January 20 via Human Season.