Hailing from Scotland, The Murderburgers are a catchy pop-punk band that writes songs about anything and everything, including alcoholism, depression, and other sad subjects – in happy-sounding songs. It sounds confusing, but it works. What a Mess is an excellently put together album, with driving drums, guitar, and bass and high-end vocals (think Screeching Weasel – but with a slight Scottish brogue). The harmonies in each song really make them, though – especially since the band tends to shun the standard verse–chorus–verse style of songwriting.
Each song is a self-contained story about something, including ruining Christmas Eve. (Hey, things happen, right?) and singer Fraser Murderburger has a knack for telling these stories and opening his heart up without losing even the tiniest bit of punk credibility, since the songs are just so goddamned good.
This is their sixth full-length album, in addition to EPs and solo albums, and yet, the music still sounds fresh and new. What a Mess is definitely not a rehash of the band’s past, yet it maintains their musical sensibilities and is immediately recognizable as a Murderburgers release at the same time. They have some magical power to keep what works while still growing and maturing as a band.
The album opens with “Turning 30 Was An Eye-Opener” – which starts off as an acoustic-almost-acapella song before breaking into fast skate punk type music, and explores life at 30. It’s a great way to open the album and prepare the listener for what’s to come. Stand-out track, “The Art of Being a Sad Sack of Shit” is brutally honest and real, as is the aforementioned “I’m Sorry About Christmas Eve” (which is referenced later on, in “The Things That Help You Sleep At Night”, somewhat tying the whole album together, as that is the second to last song).
The album ends on a positive note, with the singalong, “The Thing That Helps Me Survive” – a song with a lot of whoah-ohs and the repeated lyrics, “I want to stay alive…”. And I agree – I want this band to stay alive and keep releasing music like this. It’s real and raw and worth a listen or on hundred.
Overall, whether you’re already a fan of the band or this is your introduction to the band, this is an all-around great album from a band that is definitely going places. This just might even be the release that breaks them big time, considering just how good each and every song is. Ideal for fans of Descendents, Direct Hit!, and Welter.