Harris & Bates Murder Ballads (The Complete Collection)
Grade C
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When listening to Murder Ballads, you have to take conventional concepts of music and throw them out the window. Murder Ballads is a partnership between Mick Harris (Scorn) and Martyn Bates (Eyeless in Gaza), in which Harris provides musical soundscapes undertoning the waifish vocals of Bates. Released in three different discs, this set is finally collected in the 3-CD set.

The intriguing sound of Murder Ballads is composed of pulsing sounds layered with haunting low-end screeches. Anyone familiar with Harris' work with Lull will know what to expect musically. Bates comes in with a pale voice singing dark, unstructured folk-like tales, lending to an almost demented sound that is as interesting as unnerving.

While each song has it's own tone and story to tell, often, most of them end up sounding quite similar. Fans of convential music will most likely be turned off by this offering, which can really only be enjoyed by fans of ambient music like Lull and Main. Because of the casual structure of each 4-track cd, listening to a full cd is best enjoyed as background music.

While the concept is strong and a great change from the norm, even for the ambient genre,the product can often feel tedious and overwhelming. Unfortunately, this album does not lend itself to casual, short-attention-span listeners who want a quick five minute fix. If you've enjoyed Lull and similar projects, then consider getting this one. If you like a little more structure with your song, this might not be the album, or collection, for you.

- - Vane

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