Murnie, “Crackle”

For piano rock fans, there are simply never enough bands to go around. Sure, there is Ben Folds Five (welcomed back after 10+ year sabbatical) or early Billy Joel or Tori Amos, but if you like rock bands where the piano takes the lead, it’s hard to feel sated. Fortunately, the Scottish band Murnie fills that gap, and they’ve got a new EP Crackle to prove it.

One of the best things about the death of the music industry is how it has blown apart the need to release a “proper” album. Bands now can release music on their own, in whatever form, so Murnie can put the four song EP Crackle out there to show progress and keep fans’ appetites whetted, which is exactly what it does. Over the course of the four songs, the piano-bass/gtr-drums+vox trio covers a lot of ground – from the opening rocker “Brass Boy,” to the wistful “Don’t Forget,” all the way until the longer, thoughtful “Little Girl Who Stole the World.” The shorter “Spidermonkey” again shows that the trio knows how to rock. All in all, Crackle is a great four song EP, and I was glad to add Murnie to my music library.

Another benefit of the downfall of the music industry is that bands can now record pretty much everything they need to put out a record on their own. Sometimes this is good, sometimes not. The Crackle EP was clearly recorded and produced on a string budget, which is great for the flexibility and independence it can afford a band, although sometimes a recording can lack the professional sheen that spending a little cash can acquire. Crackle needs just a bump in that direction (a good mastering goes a long way) and would raise the bar for the band significantly.

There is no question Murnie has all the skill it needs. They write great songs that give us piano rock fans exactly what we demand: solid rhythm section led by a rocking piano and melodic vocals. I imagine they’re a great live band, and they clearly get how to write, record, and release music on their own. Here’s to hoping their next EP is a bit more polished (perhaps an IndieGoGo project can raise some funds), which I would gladly pick up.

Listen to Crackle for yourself, and sate all your Murnie needs here.

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