John Murry – A Short History of Decay

A Short History of Decay quietly takes its place at the top table of Americana.

Album Review by Alan O'Hare | 15 Aug 2017
  • John Murry – A Short History of Decay
Album title: A Short History of Decay
Artist: John Murry
Label: TV Records
Release date: 14 Jul

John Murry does that thing all great artists do: he gets you interested in his world. His last record, the critically acclaimed The Graceless Age, was a masterpiece in Southern Gothic songwriting. 

'Those days ain't coming back', he sings in the brilliant Come Five & Twenty, but the tune – all throbbing guitar and drifting organ – proves him wrong and offers a masterpiece in the economies of production and delivery. It's a highlight that sets the tone for the bruised baritone ballads and blues that dominate A Short History of Decay, his first record in five years. 

Heartbreaking laments, such as the devastating Wrong Man and the elegantly weightless One Day (You'll Die), share atmospheres with Nick Cave's best work and Bob Dylan's latter day dark humour. In short, these are songs that you might find at the bottom of a glass... but Murry is emerging from the other side of his demons. Sure, the Mark Lanegan comparisons won't go away and, lyrically, the likes of Miss Magdalene could be taken from a modern-day novella about Townes Van Zandt, but Murry's singular talent makes sure this record never sinks beneath the weight of its influences.

A Short History of Decay just quietly takes its place at the top table of Americana.

Listen to: Come Five & Twenty, Wrong Man, One Day (You'll Die)