Italy has certainly exported something interesting to experience with Father Murphy. Croce is this duo’s first full-length release for The Flenser, the perfect label for such an experimental act. Being sold as a religious story told in eight acts, Croce is made to be analyzed and digested with severe attention. As a concept album with many cryptic moments to struggle understanding, their newest effort is a Rubix cube to marvel at for many listens.
It would be difficult to describe the sound of Croce without stating how truly odd the sound design and writing is for it. Every track seems to have at least one sound that is nearly impossible to pinpoint as a precise object being hit. The levels of noise on this album are almost Gnaw Their Tongues level, becoming overwhelming at moments. The drones and drums work in unison to set a macabre sequence for the crucifixion of Jesus, while later on repeated vocals challenge Jesus’ conviction to the beatings by singing “can you take it?” off rhythm and on a loop. Croce is the type of album that will not quite click until you hear it a second or third time. The journey is like trying to dissect an Alejandro Jodorowsky film, which is meant to be unsolvable.
There are some disappointing moments to note on Croce though. Despite having mostly beautifully tortured tracks to enjoy, there are a few that are a bit too simple. “We Walk By Faith” comes up late in the track listing utilizing a beautiful sense of desolation but at also holds on a solid 90 seconds too long for it’s own good. The closer is also a bit too anti-climactic relying on a strong instrumental that works as much as it can but a vocal presence would make the ending more monumental. The track listing is ultimately too short though. Being only 38 minutes over eight tracks makes the ride seem far shorter than it should be. An extra ten minutes of dissonance would be an excellent way make the journey even more meaningful.
Croce is a great example of how noise and drone can be a truly astounding combo to create music. The sense of fear, dread, and pain oozing from this record is nothing short of an astounding achievement. There are a few tracks that either hold on too long or feel like there could be more added on, but Father Murphy prevail in the most important areas. The mood of the album is precise and powerful, while the story is creepy and off-putting. Croce is what experimental music fans expect from the genre.
1. Blood Is Thicker Than Water
2. A Purpose
3. So This Is Permanent
4. In Solitude
5. Long May We Continue
6. All The People Yelling Fire
7. They Won’t Hurt You
8. We Walk By Faith