Go - Little Murders (Off The Hip)
Guitar pop like this has no equal. Rob Griffiths has been writing and playing it longer than anyone can remember. Little Murders are a Melbourne institution and the current line-up is the longest serving. Each of these facts is connected.
So where to begin? Begin with the songs, stupid. There are 11 and they’re killer. “Go” (a play on early album title “Stop”) sounds a touch drier than its predecessor, “Dig For Plenty”, but it’s not that relevant. It lends a harder edge. Female backing vocals, courtesy of the talented Joey Bedlam of Dollsquad, and occasional horns adds to the sonic sense that this is a power pop party.
Griffiths is a student of rock and pop who sticks to his own tried and tested rules in his songwriting. To make the cut, a song needs melody, a hook or two and a chorus. Each one’s a story about a person who passed through his life or that of someone he knows. His delivery is wrapped up in an English accent that lends a sense of droll bravado or earnest earthiness, depending on the lyrical content. Laddish harmonies from his teammates bring a singalong ethos to the game.
From the Chuck-and-the-Dolls-meet-the-Clash rawk of “Too Many Times” to the winsome “Bicycle Wheel” (a duet with Joey) to the instant pop accessibility of “Baby It’s You” and “Too Many Times” and the brassy punch of “Mean Season” this is timeless and a million miles removed from the gauche, soft crap that pollutes radio airwaves.
Putting Rob Griffiths to one side, there’s a lifetime of bands and touring on the curriculum vitae of the band members. Ex-Coral Snake Rod Hayward’s chunky lead breaks are all over this and the engine room of Tony Robertson (Hitmen) and Duncan Hamilton (Holoscene) is top drawer. Griffiths and rhythm guitarist Bruce Minty add more grit live although Rob confines himself to the vocal microphone for this recording.
Recorded in-between gigs (these guys work the live circuit harder than most) at Audrey Studios in Melbourne under the ear of producer Craig Pilkington (Even, The Black Eyed Susans, Renee Geyer, Archie Roach), it’s unlikely to trouble the mainstream radio tastemakers - which should be more than enough incentive for you to take the plunge.