Album Review: Murderland’s ‘Splitsville’


by James Fleming

Another band has fallen prey to the trappings and clichés of mid 00’s pop-punk. The heavy distortion and occasional blast of thrash metal snare patterns fail to hide what these songs really are: tasteless, bubblegum pop-songs.

Murderland’s third LP Splitsville supposedly builds on what was already a characteristic and original sound, but it’s nothing you haven’t already heard before. Sum 41 meets The Misfits, it’s a bland combination that takes the worst aspects of both bands and combines them into a sound that’s somehow worse than the sum of its parts.

The Misfits are a classic punk rock band; great, straightforward rock n’ roll. Murderland however, have simply taken the balls out of The Misfits’ sound and replaced it with Offspring-esque thrashing.

The seven songs on Splitsville leave a bad taste in the mouth, though not in the way the band intended. Rather than disgust at the gore and schlock of the lyrics, you just feel sick. Like you’ve eaten way too much candy. Heavy shit this ain’t.

One could argue that I’m missing the point, that the tastelessness is part of the bands’ charm. But, whereas other bands (The Dictators, Dead Boys) took that vulgarity and combined it with loud, rude rock n’ roll, Murderland have a simply watered-down sound that wouldn’t sound out of place on radio. There’s no attitude here, no sex-appeal.

Their brand of horror-pop-punk doesn’t have any of the humour or charm of The Misfits. It just sounds immature. Songs like ‘Beach Bunny Babylon’, and the title track fail to leave any sort of a good impression. “Shitting out maggots and gore”, is not the height of schlocky lyrical sophistication. You want sophisticated kitsch, listen to Alice Cooper. It can be done.

One could forgive the lack of originality if the songs were good. But they simply aren’t. Absolutely nothing makes Murderland’s sound stand out from the thousands of other pop-punk bands across this poisoned globe of ours. Even their swearing sounds calculated.

It’s danger made marketable for the pre-teen audience. Plenty of references to sex, drugs, booze and rock n’ roll, to make the ‘tweens feel “edgy”. A label wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. Not because their sound isn’t right, but because what little shock-value they do have would be detrimental to sales. That means, there was no marketing team behind this. They sound like this on purpose. That’s a sin so low they would be turned away at the gates of Hell for it.

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