The Auteurs - After Murder Park

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1996-03-04

In 1995, with Britpop in full cry and everything The Auteurs had seemed to stand for filling charts and arena-sized venues, Luke Haines decided the time was right to make a brutally reductive album about murder and alcoholism produced by Steve Albini. Just to see off any lingering chance of success, a single called "Unsolved Child Murder" was released a week before the tragic Dunblane primary school massacre. Haines' timing aside, he wasn't doing much else wrong. After Murder Park is a tour-de-force, a collection of great songwriting and sparse, vicious arrangements which manages to evoke both the literary flair of Elvis Costello and the searing heavy-metal wipeouts of prime Pixies. The opening track, "Light Aircraft On Fire", is one of Haines' typically apocalyptic metaphors for human relationships and on the awesomely savage "Tombstone" he dreams of torching the Columbia Hotel--London's legendary rock & roll flophouse--before offering the deliciously sarcastic tribute "I'd like to thank my mother, for inventing rock & roll". A petulant, aggressive but nonetheless welcome gatecrasher at the Britpop party, After Murder Park was an acridly refreshing change at the time, and has sounded a resoundingly great album since. --Andrew Mueller

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