The Murderburgers – How To Ruin Your Life
It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that The Murderburgers are not only one of my favourite bands that Make-That-A-Take Records have put on, but one of my favourite bands full stop. I have been pretty excited about this record coming out and listened to it heaps of times on bandcamp before my physical copy of the LP came through the mail, alongside their split with The Gamits (thanks Abbie!).
I got the vinyl issued by All In Vinyl (the same label that issued the aforementioned split), with the CD version released by Dutch label Monster Zero, home to the likes of The Apers, DeeCRACKS and loads more Euro-punk bangers. The company that The Murderburgers keep speaks volumes about the band themselves; they’ve toured extensively with the likes of The Copyrights and are heading out on a massive tour with Dear Landlord in the USA this week.
Hyberbolic as that may sound, “How To Ruin Your Life” is the album that The Murderburgers have been threatening to make since they formed. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it’s the best, most coherent and down-right exhilarating album that they’ve put out yet. They’ve always been a prolific band, what with this being their fourth full-length in five years; an impressive output for any band, let alone a punk rock band from Glasgow.
Things kick off with the instrumental “It’s Burger Time” before blasting into “Unemployment, Here I Come”, a song which articulates the Burger Manifesto from the get-go. The first thing that strikes me is the increased strength in on the songwriting front and the brilliant, crisp production job by BOAB and Ricky of Punk Rock Rammy . The record was also mastered by Mass Giorgini of Squirtgun fame, along with “shitloads of help” from his co-conspirator Flav, so that gives an indication of where things are heading. Things are less overtly “Ramones-core” though, with lead guitars especially more akin to The Copyrighs and Teenage Bottlerocket than The Queers.
The vocal harmonies cut through with greater clarity than on previous releases and strengthens the songs with a euphoric, defiant glee. The familiar themes of employment (or the lack thereof), girls, touring, depression, anxiety and the idiocy of the general public are all present and correct, are delivered with Fraser’s characteristic dry wit and humour. Fraser seems much more comfortable with his role of lead singer on these recordings, perhaps encouraged by the more mid-paced approach on this record. That’s not to say that the songs are slow by any means, they still career along at a fair old pace, but there seems to be a little more focus on the songwriting and structure of things, as opposed to just racing towards the finish line. That said, the likes of “She Don’t Wanna” and “Valentine’s Day 2009” blast past and rattle your brain, the latter with the repeated refrain of “I don’t wanna be a suicide”. Bleak subject matter aside, these bastards are earworms and will get stuck in your head for days.
This collection flows together impeccably, with the re-recorded “Moron” fitting in perfectly. That was always a favourite song of mine and it’s nice to hear it with a better recording than before. The background”woahs” are a spoonful of sugar throughout. I wouldn’t want Fraser writing a “diss-song” about me though, as he can be lyrically caustic when it comes to it!
If I was to pick some personal favourite songs from the record, I’d probably have to go for “Gimme Gimme Negativity” with it’s super-speedy tongue-twisting lyrical delivery and hyper-catchiness and “It’s Over Already”. If there’s a cheerier song written this year about everything being fucked, then I’d be surprised. Closing track “Learning To Hate You” is probably the most expansive song The Murderburgers have ever written and it’s fucking brilliant. Fraser’s vocal melodies have come on so far and these are some of the most hooky sing-a-long songs he’s ever written.
The whole record has more of an “epic” feel to it than previous recordings and is absolutely the best thing that The Murderburgers have put their name to. I’d go so far as to say that “How To Ruin Your Life” has to be one of the best Scottish pop-punk records ever. If there was to be a Scottish “Dream Homes” or “North Sentinel Island”, then “How To Ruin Your Life” is pretty much it.
It’s fucking brilliant and you should go buy it!
Their US tour with Dear Landlord kicks of on Friday in Minneapolis. You can find all the dates here.
You can stream and download “How To Ruin Your Life” here.
They’ll play their last show of the year in Dundee at Book Yer Ane Fest VI.