Some bands evolve their sound to glorious new heights on every successive album, while some keep their style so consistently tight that fans would never dream of asking them to change. Somehow, Murder By Death has managed to achieve both accolades in anticipation of their upcoming studio album, Spell / Bound, as evidenced by its first powerful single, “Never Be.”

Murder By Death have, at their core, stayed a folk-rock / gothic country band since their inception in 2002. They’re a mix of Nick Cave and The Decemberists — not quite as dark as Johnny Cash, yet a tad darker than Delta Rae. Each of their albums have felt like their own world, complete with concepts like the Devil, war, hard times and booze combined with the lush sounds of cellos against electric guitars. On “Never Be,” their distinctive sound comes out full force — complete with violins and lead singer Adam Turla’s haunting, semi-gruff voice.

From the first lyrics, “Never Be” sets listeners up for what is sure to be another evolution in Murder By Death’s catalog: “Someone taught you wrong, kid / You been harpin’ on / About a world where only killers get ahead / You’re still listenin’ to that thing under your bed.” The song evokes a sense of dread amidst its rich sound, pulling fans into what feels like a short story set to music about how the evil in humanity is only ever fought — and defeated — from within. As such, the style of “Never Be” fits its tone perfectly, as stated in the song’s liner notes:

“’Never Be’ is a cinematic tell-off song that simmers with a dark and lush energy. Cello and violin weave around a hypnotic finger-picked acoustic in an arrangement that hints at Serge Gainsbourg or Elliott Smith.”

“Never Be” is sure to be another step in the musical expansion of Murder By Death’s universe, and a promise of more great things to come for them this year. Murder By Death will release their tenth studio album, Spell / Bound, on July 29 — you can support their endeavor by donating to their Kickstarter campaign, explained humorously in the video below:

There will be a tour to support Spell / Bound alongside Amigo the Devil, starting at the very end of July and going through mid-September. In the meantime, you can also listen to the Spotify for “Never Be” now!

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