The Murder Barn is a London based alt-rock sextet, fronted by British-Polish-Lebanese songstress/multi-instrumentalist Chesca Dolecka. If their debut double A-side single is anything to go by, the band’s future is going to be a darn side brighter than their sinister name might suggest!

First track ‘America’ starts with straightforward piano that’s somewhere between Tori Amos and Kate Bush in feel, gradually layering on string arrangements that carry this hymn about the religious right and the end of an empire to an altogether darker level. At the same time, Chesca’s amazing vocal range and knack for delivering a song – no matter how dark and sardonic the lyrics – keeps the listener in an enchanted world with Lynchian undertones. There is a dream-like quality about the overall arrangement that captivates you right from the first keynote.

The edgier, rockier ‘Harvest’ transports you into the twisted realms of love and rituals (read my interview with Chesca to find out more about the inspiration behind the song). With the exception of a few folky guitar sounds at the beginning, the remainder of the song drifts strongly into PJ Harvey territory and stays there. Once again, Chesca’s powerful voice makes this a standout track, while Matt Jones added Casio lifts the overall arrangement from too much heaviness and weight.
What’s so amazing about Murder Barn’s music is that not their visual vision to go with each song, but fans easily can conjure up a story of their own while listening to the tracks.

Sisters Chesca Dolecka (vocals / guitar / accordion / piano / ukelele) and Becca Grover Jones (Guitar / vocals) have been playing music together since they were kids along with childhood friend Ryan Wilson (guitars / sax / vocals) and Serbian drummer Velibor Krstic. They had known Matt Jones (previously of Ultrasound, Minuteman, Beady Eye) for years and had worked together before on various projects. Bassist Kev Feazey (The Fierce and The Dead) had produced The Murder Barn’s early material before joining the band and completing the current line-up.

The digital album / Ltd. edition 7” vinyl plus art package is available via the band’s own Bandcamp site on a “pay what you want” basis. For heaven’s sake, pay them something and a few dimes more – The Murder Barn are worth their salt!

(Please read my interview with Chesca and Matt in our ‘Interviews’ section).