Mitch Murder Then Again album review: Heaps of style but missing its last hit of substance
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Over the past five years Mitch Murder has been busy. On top of appearing in a plethora of Spotify synthwave playlists, the artist has been releasing a lot of commercial work. Just last year the producer dropped some tracks that were featured on CD Projekt RED’s video game Cyberpunk 2077 before he announced a new album was on its way. Mitch Murder’s last full album, Interceptor, was released in 2014, and is still a mainstay in the soundtrack and retrowave scene. The DJ’s fourth album, Then Again, delivers more catchy, synthpop jams full of heart and pure entertainment.
In an almost unnerving way, Then Again is more of the same for Mitch Murder, but in a completely different direction.
Yes, fans of his music will certainly find the regular memorable pieces of his charm here.
The funky and uplifting bass behind every one of his tracks is still ever-present, adding a distinct feeling of jazz through each song.
And, yes, the short sharp MIDI drums keep an exceptionally precise beat throughout the various rises and falls of each adventure Mitch takes you on.
However, there’s something purer to Then Again. Mitch Murder, despite his name, continues to paint a glorious picture with his music, kicking off with Skybound first and foremost.
The track has soundbites of an airport lounge inter-spliced with the glorious melodies of his synths, making the listening experience feel like the beginning of a hazy pastelled 1980s vacation.
Some tracks in Then Again almost feel like pure easy listening with hints of jazz and magic peppered throughout.
Mitch Murder gives more of what he does best, creating jams that feel effortless, calm and serene, almost floating by on cruise control.
Between the fervent melodies bullying you into a sense of serenity, glimpses of upbeat pan flutes usher in more exciting moments of the album.
Ocean Parkway encourages the utmost movement, almost giving off the vibe of a mid-80s late-night Jazzercise class.
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The album’s head-in-the-cloud essence is glaringly obvious during its track Twilight Marina.
Once again using soundbites from the presumably real-life location featured in its name, Twilight Marina feels like what a Hollywood movie would plaster on a surfing film’s trailer.
That isn’t to say it is in any way bad – quite the contrary. It is groovy, completely enticing, and impossible to enjoy sitting still.
Halfway through the album is where Mitch Murder begins to falter.
The album’s symphonic and soundtrack-esque style is excellent in countless ways, but the album as a whole lacks a truly killer song.
Former album Interceptor had a few heavy-hitters, with Breakazoid leading the charge. Similarly, Burning Chrome also featured some instant classics, with Midnight Mall coming in at the forefront.
Mitch Murder’s 2011 album, Current Events, had the exceptional Palmer’s Arcade, which reaches exceptional highs he has never met again.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like anything in Then Again comes close to being the standout piece of the record.
Close enough to perfection is the album’s penultimate track, Shirahama.
It features an incredible palate with the only real instance of Mitch Murder’s magic.
Stinging high-pitched melodies shape the track until a surprise outro makes it one of the most memorable hits on the record.
Beyond that though, Mitch Murder’s fans might let Then Again drift into the background as they listen to it more.
If a soundtrack is what he was aiming for, he has succeeded.
Mitch Murder – Then Again is out now.
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