The music of Go Murphy reminds me of my High School weekends. Living next to a college town, my free time was typically spent inside dive bars listening to various local acts attempting to have a musical break through moment with an often inebriated and sparse crowd. These were the kinds of places where your feet stuck to the floor, the sound was bad, and the air was accompanied by the smell of stale dollar beers. This is the environment where Fargo, North Dakota band Go Murphy would thrive. As a straightforward rock act with nothing to prove, these are the guys you would love to hang out with after they tear through a set heavy on instrumentals and blow you away vocals. I imagine them as T-shirt clad workingmen as much at home on the stage as they are sharing a beer with you. In this world of gimmicks and self-promotion, Go Murphy are a refreshing force of indie rock.
To hear the full album, click here.
Their first full-length release, “A is A”, took a few listens to grow on me but boy did it ever grow on me. The album moves unhindered into a world all its own while casting all restraints and modern rock showmanship to the side in a successful attempt at making a truly heartfelt and welcomed release. The listener can easily notice the thought and confidence in which the band exudes in songs like the album opener, “New Year”. This is my personal favorite track from the album and will remind you of music from the early 2000’s. In fact, most of the album has a feeling of an old friend with a new lease on life. It sounds like a musical upgrade. Bass, guitar, and drums all take their turn in this jam before lead vocalist Marcus Rondestvedt cuts loose (give a listen to “We All Want More” for a further example of his exceptional rock pipes). Songs like the fantastic “Don’t Go Away” have the band exploring a more ballad format while staying true to their rock vibe with a doomed relationship caught in the balance. You can hear influences as diverse as Built to Spill, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and Muse within these well-crafted riffs and wails.
What the band might just do best, is jam. “Astrolabe” is an Explosions in the Sky type instrumental piece which sees the band exploring their surroundings patiently for the rest of the album. Go Murphy have a chemistry here which is rare and exceptional. This is further seen in “Cancer” where every band member seems to contribute admirably to what is a definite high point of “A is A”. If you enjoy great musicians working within their strengths without reaching or forcing their craft, then you will particularly enjoy these three hardworking dudes from Fargo. Give it a listen, and you too may be transported back to your heyday to a dingy dive bar of your youth.