Preview: Murder By Death’s folk-rock splits the difference between gloom and glee

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From the May 2, 2013 edition

On last year’s Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, Bloomington stalwarts Murder by Death split the difference between their darkly gothic band name and their bright, shiny Paste-folk press photo, landing in sonic territory somewhere like Nick Cave attempting to make a Decemberists record. In a theatrically brooding Johnny Cash croon, Adam Turla turns phrases like “The rich folks choke on Bedouin smoke” while the rustic sounds behind him shift between gloomy gravitas and folk-punk hayride.

Hearing such typically stone-faced sounds from shiny, smiling face can be jarring, but when you give up probing for gravitas and let the songs sink in, it’s rather pleasant, if slightly confusing. They ought to sound swell in The Bluestone’s ornate performance space with Frontier Ruckus and White Pines.