Murder Ford Monument
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Murder Ford Monument

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
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"Vue Magazine C.D Review"

From the opening riff of Murder Ford Monument's self-titled debut album, it's clear that there is a desperation here, one that is not of the quietly-resigned-to-cruel-fate type, but more of the rabid-dog-backed-into-a-corner type. The album explodes with an oddly regal and vaguely oriental riff that stops and starts, grating at times and sounding like a squeaky chair or your 1996-era modem connecting you to AOL when it's left to grind and feedback just enough to punctuate the song. The song, titled "The King is Dead," opens with the line "Our tired house becomes a grave," and goes on to describe a harrowing-but-inescapable situation—in the protagonist's mind, at least—that lead singer Jesse Legallais offers to take her away from, though she continues to refuse, lying to herself and insisting that "everything's OK." By the time the song closes with hungry synths floating above the guitar attacks and Legallais' anguished cries, it's clear that the rest of the album will contain an epic and beautiful bring-down.

As the album moves on it allows itself to enter into quieter and more solemn territory, trading the guitar squeals for mashed piano wash chords and a sense of foreboding. On a track like "Slowly, Quietly,"—the album's fifth—the plodding metre recreates a slow march nowhere, the auditory equivalent of misery. Legallais sings, "Goodnight boys, goodnight boys, goodnight," before the song seems to fade into a sea of resignation but, like the dog backed into the corner, "Slowly, Quietly," lashes out suddenly, exploding in a sea of noise and Legallais' flipped vocal register denoting a newfound urgency for communication.

Formerly known as Grand Duke Archipelago and then Archipelagos before changing its name to Murder Ford Monument, the band's "newest" album represents a real maturity in sound. Referred to as "darlings" of the Montréal scene, the former group traded in the same bleak worldview yet didn't realize it as fully. Tinny and lacking the depth of Murder Ford Monument, some of the older recordings that are available online show just how far the band has come; Murder Ford Monument's self titled disc has a new depth of sound and lyricism, a much more layered approach that enhances the emotions being layed down here.

The album isn't without its flaws. At times, such as on "Rebel Smile" and the second last track "No Highway," Murder Ford Monument can get rather self-indulgent in its languorousness and these tracks feel like filler, a way to round out an album that is a bit on the short side at nine tracks but would be quite brief indeed at seven. Thankfully the album picks itself back up on closer "Black Moon Lake," an epic cut in more than just length. At more than seven minutes it certainly takes awhile to get through, but it's the journey over the mixed terrain that is most epic. Blasting synths open before the track becomes inward looking in both tone and lyrics as Legallais sings, "There are these beasts in me," and then proceeds to describe an internal struggle with his darkest parts. Not exactly a beach-party record, but it's sensitive and introspective enough to demand attention. V - Vue Magazine


"Now Magazine C.D Review"

Montreal is nurturing a new school of scrappy up-and-coming indie rockers like Parlovr and Murder Ford Monument. The latter, who turned heads at CMW last year under the moniker Dukes of Archipelago, are influenced by NYC indie bands the Walkmen and the National. Singer Jesse LeGallais’s unruffled baritone earns comparisons to the National’s Matt Berninger, although on catchy opener The King Is Dead, he also sounds like the D’Urbervilles’ John O’Regan.

The other songs can’t top the urgency of King, though the five-piece still produce interesting moments throughout, as on the duet Rebel Smile and the unexpectedly horn-driven No Highway. A promising start worth checking out. - Jordan Brimm


"I heart Music C.D Review"

It seems like every time I write about bands involving Jesse LeGallais, I'm comparing him to someone else. A few years ago, when he was fronting Dukes of the Archipelago, I said he sounded like Win Butler. Now that he's in a new band -- Murder Ford Monument -- I'm going to revise that earlier opinion, and say that he (and the rest of his band, for that matter) sound like The National.

It's not intended to be a slight. After all, I liked The Dukes' debut, and I like MFM's self-titled debut. It's just that it's hard to hear songs like "Hollowed-Out Tree Trunks" and "The Hills Were On Fire" and not immediately think Alligator.

Of course, there are far worse bands to which Murder Ford Monument could be compared. And in any case, MFM are a pretty talented bunch, and there are quite a few signs indicating that there's a lot more to them than just being a National cover band. There are the horns in "The Hills Were On Fire", and the synths in the very awesome "Black Moon Lake", and the punky urgency of opener "The King Is Dead" -- all reasons to believe that, next time out, Murder Ford Monument could be inspiring a few cover bands of their own. Not bad for a debut. - Mattew


"Top Twelve Shows of 2009"

I am overjoyed by the number of excellent new bands hitting stages around Montreal these days. One of them is Murder Ford Monument. Their anthemic, Springsteen-esque "Black Moon Lake" has been blasting on my iPod headphones for several weeks and I've been telling friends to check out their self-titled debut album. One such friend complained of the sound quality at their recent Casa show - he said the guitars were too loud and harsh and made it hard to enjoy the songs. I agreed, but for a very particular reason: Murder Ford Monument have outgrown small rooms, and I hope (and fully expect) they move to bigger and better things in 2010. - Midnight Poutine


"Montreal Mirror CD Review"

When it comes to panoramic music that gets its kicks from gradual mood shifting and subtle interplay, a good measure of quality is how well the peaks trade with the valleys. This Montreal five-piece meanders and explores the vast terrains of country-inflected rock on their debut, yet prove capable of rising to the occasion during a few sublime instrumental high points. - Montreal Mirror


"Montreal Hour CD Review"

The nine-song album draws on the darker, more sinister elements of pop/new wave, with keyboards hovering like a cool afterthought between your stereo speakers, all the while blazing guitars and a punch drunk rhythm section slap each other silly. Dig, if you will, the killer horns on The Hills Were on Fire. Good stuff if you can get it, so go get it. - Montreal Hour


"Meet You at the Show C.D review"

Who was it that said music is most meaningful when it arouses some of your deepest emotions? I think that might have been me, but either way, Montreal collective Murder Ford Monument’s debut, self-titled LP is one of those albums that is best enjoyed when you invest yourself in it, rather than having it as casual background music.

Right from the start, the album explodes into existence with “The King is Dead”. Whining electric guitars and crashing drums stop and start until lead singer Jesse LeGallais starts to sing; his deep voice immediately bringing to mind The National’s Matt Berninger. Perhaps for some, LeGallais’ deadpan delivery might be a little off putting at first, but as the album goes on it becomes apparent that his vocal style compliments the music perfectly, and I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

On a musical level, the majority of the album’s instrumentation is provided by guitars, bass and drums, with a spattering of other instruments here and there. While a lot of the time the guitars are loud and screeching, on “Bones”, one of the album’s slower numbers, and also one of the most emotional, the guys add some slide guitar to the mix, which leads to lovely results. It’s hard to tell when the song ends and the next song, “The Hills Were on Fire” begins, but the welcome sound of organ, piano and even trumpet tell us that a new song is here, and it’s another heart-wrencher. The dramatic, halting piano provide for that. “No Highway” is the album’s only instrumental piece, led by a solitary trumpet, which is accompanied by guitar, bass and marching band style percussion. This also just so happens to be one of the saddest songs on the album. The song to accompany a lonely soldier marching off to war perhaps. A beautiful piece in any respect.

Murder Ford Monument’s debut LP is as good a debut as you could expect to hear. Even though the album is only nine songs long, it doesn’t feel too short. On the contrary, listening to this album from start to finish is quite an adventure. The album ends with “Black Moon Lake” which if you’d like one song to sum up the rest of the album, this is the one. Emotion driven vocals, almost tragic sounding instrumentation which takes us out of the album on a sea of swirling guitars. – Greg Lozoff - Meet You at the Show


"HeroHill CD Review"

Murder Ford Monument

When lead singer Jesse LeGallais’ baritone explodes over the fuzzy guitar and horns on The Hills Were On Fire, you can’t help but think of The National. His voice is similar to Mat’s and the band tries hard to match the energy of the NY outfit over the eight songs that make up their self-titled EP, so it's really hard to shake the sonic similarities.

I hate to lump them into a generic sounds-like comparison (one I’m sure they will tire of very, very quickly), because the band is trying some interesting things – the female vocals that perk up the bleak Gunfighters, the barren, simplicity of Rebel Smile that leads nicely into the strong, synth dominated closer Black Moon Lake (the song that I really think the band shows who THEY are) – and are headed in the right direction and when you dive in you notice that instead of the taught percussion and surging melodies you expect from The National, MFM opts for cloudier, bleaker sounds that never try for the staggering heights or intimate confessionals you might expect.
- Hero Hill


"Evilbus Review"

If Explosions In The Sky put a voice to their amazing tracks, it would sound a bit like Murder Ford Monument… I’ve read a comparison of these guys to The National which is understandable as well… Al Isler, Scott Delaney, Jesse LeGallais and Domink Langlois are the members of this killer band from Montreal that just released their self titled debut album in October (2009). - Evil Bus


"Aversion C.D Review"

Post-punk revivalists have brought a lot of craftsmanship back into focus over the past five years. Millions of bands nailed the trick at recreating the spacious, dismal atmospheres, and nearly as many figured out how to peg that super-cool aloofness that goes with the style's glory days. But the inherent instability, the danger? Not so much: How many are brimming with unspent rage like Public Image Ltd. or The Fall; Is there any band as pointedly angry as Gang of Four? Not really.

At least until now. Montreal's Murder Ford Monument roll down out from the indie-rock hotspot with a self-release album that slips the bite, the bile and the danger back into the post-punk world. Lead singer Jesse LeGallais' commanding baritone bears more than just a passing resemblance to The National's Matt Berninger, and the act's modestly low-lit and restrained songwriting occasionally strengthens those associations, but Murder Ford Monument isn't nearly as decorous as the tunes made by the Brooklyn urbanites.

Filled with ragged edges of sawing guitar, bursts of drum work that belies post punk's usually deliberate pacing and the impassioned vocals that buck the genre's restraint. "The King is Dead" opens the album with prickly guitar work as LeGallais cuts through the noise with a snarling delivery, and "Hollowed-Out Tree Trunks" keeps the intensity on. Even as the album unfolds and the band takes its foot off the throttle to explore the moodier, more somber arrangements that help affix the National comparisons, Murder Ford Monument still injects a more than vague sense of dread into the proceedings. "Gunfighters" adds keys to the formula to do Interpol better than Interpol's done Interpol in years, and "Slowly, Quietly" creaks and groans ominously on a grumbly bass line as heavy beats and funeral-parlor organs quickly bring the menace. "No Highway," one of the album's most refined tracks with a trumpet filling out the sound, even sounds like a death march at times.

As fashionable and sophisticated as post punk is these days, it's important to have a reminder that the style wasn't intended to go down easily, or that it wasn't really made simply to make people dance or explore atmospheres. It was made by pissed-off, desperate and sometimes unstable people for pissed off, desperate and unstable people. Murder Ford Monument is that reminder.
- Aversion Media


Discography

Murder Ford Monument - 2009

Photos

Bio

Since forming, Murder Ford Monument have toured with Valleys and Parlovr, as well as sharing the stage with Okkervil River, Retribution Gospel Choir, Apostle of Hustle and Sebastian Grainger
They have also performed at the POPMontreal, Fringe POP , Art Matters, Pitter Patter, CMW and the 2010 edition of the Under the Snow , festivals as well as being part of the Toronto music series Wavelength.
They will be preforming at the 2010 NXNE Festival as part of the POP Montreal Showcase.
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RIYL: The National, Explosions In The Sky.
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Growing up through the 80's there was one Crayola he kept and never used. It was the 25th in a pack of 24. A lucky find at a local daycare garage sale. There amongst the "Prussian Blue" and "Indian Red" it was nestled firmly into what little available space was left, bearing the oddly enticing name "Muted 70's Brown".
"Hmmm..." he thought, "It seems like more of an orange." And so with a worn-down stub of Raw Umber he amended the name to "Muted 70's BrownOrange".
Several years passed and still the crayon remained untouched, until one day, for some unremarkable reason, he picked it up and started drawing. With the first tentative tracings of an outline he began to hear soft arpeggios - could've been guitar, could've been piano, couched in soft splashes of dislocated reverb. With intuition quickly defeating his initial frightened hesitation he continued to draw, and as the strokes became more assured, the lines clearer and bolder, the shards of sound coalesced and solidified into an exact rendition of Townes Van Zandt's High, Low, and In Between. "Muted 70's BrownOrange indeed", he thought to himself when done.
For a while he believed that the crayon was magic, one-of-a-kind and so he only drew in Muted 70's BrownOrange, and so only ever heard Townes in his head, until one day, for some unremarkable reason, he began to color in a picture of the Las Vegas skyline with Cerulean Frost. Much to his surprise he heard sounds again, only now it was disjointed drums punctuating subtly abrasive fax-machine guitars. Just as the finishing touches were being scratched across the Imperial Palace he recognized the sounds. Wilco. Yankee Hotel. Understanding dawned and in a frenzy he grabbed up a handful of crayons and began to scribble madly without form.
Sonic Silver manifested itself as Marquee Moon. Midnight Pearl was Whatever You Love, You Are. Malachite, The National's Alligator. In this epiphanic state he tore out a fresh page and began to combine colours, eyes ecstatic at what he heard.
A light scraping of green against blue would add a halo of echo to tremulous organs. The softer metallic hues interwove intricate guitar lines around the faded purple of the vocals. Eyes-closed experiments with confident primary colours yielded brass and piano strewn almost carelessly atop swells of cymbals and fuzz. And the Muted 70's BrownOrange, when sparingly added to this seemingly haphazard melange, made them songs.

Sometime in the winter of 2007, Montreal band Murder Ford Monument obtained an off-the-record government grant to purchase the drawing and used it as a strict template to record their debut self-titled album.