If I listened to music when I am backpacking, this would be it. This album has a nice, natural sound and beautiful, thought provoking lyrics. Murrieta (named for a Chilean outlaw) is a collection of six gifted gentlemen based in Arizona. Each one has brought his own style, preferences, skill set, and history to the band. Their sound comes from all over the place and comes together to create something lively and organic that everyone can enjoy. “A Head and Hand” is their first album.
“A Head” is one minute and twelve seconds of wondering and caring. It mulls through a broken relationship and the meaningfulness of life. The guitar is simple. The vocal harmonies are tight and beautiful.
“Well, I heard about your sister…” This song has that feeling of a friend telling you about their family issues, feeling honored to share that burden, but knowing that you will not ever understand it. “Once again, I’ll pretend to comprehend.” The banjo in “Once Again” is hollow, the tune is groovy, the beat is positive. The friendship is good and growing, a mix of trust and wanting to care but not being positive just how to but the trust is there.
“Purging Tree” begins with some nice electronic sounds, mellow, smooth, rhythmic. The lyrics are nostalgic, searching, a bit melancholy. They explore the end of a relationship, trying to please, trying to fix things but watching the person who you care for pull gently away. I love the electric guitar, singing a ballad, and ushering in a new beginning.
“Recidivist”, a repeat offender, a chronic criminal. This song is heavy and captivating. The lyrics explore the feeling of hopelessness, of conviction that comes with repeating the same offense against the same person, of violating them and causing a rift between you that feels like you will never be able to repair it. “Just come home.” The singer begs. Just “please, be careful if you choose to stay.” The song ends on a chorus of men’s voices raised in harmony. This song is beautiful. It displays emotion that is raw and intelligent, it conveys things that we have all felt–messing up and desiring a second chance, the feeling of hopelessness and never being able to have a healthy relationship. It does these things with purity, concision, beauty, and clarity.
“Where we begin and end, we may never know.” The album ends with a concept that has been on my mind so much lately. We spend our lives searching for where we came from and where we are going only to miss where we are.
To me, Murrieta has the charm and appeal of Mumford and Sons. Catchy rhythms, a unique style that would appeal to a broad range of people, and lyrics that are not only beautiful, but meaningful. Check these guys out. Tell your friends. I can see them going far and doing great things. I look forward to more music from these
blessed desert dwelling gentlemen who have crafted some glorious poetry and set it to lively, timeless music. Thank you.