After Murder Park

Roch Parisien
All Music Guide

On third album After Murder Park, the pretentiously monikered Auteurs fancy themselves the bridge between the thinking-man's Blur school of modern Brit-pop and a vintage proto-glam band. It is ultimately a contrived illusion. The band's creative processes are transparent: "rather than let this chorus's conventional pop structure progress as expected, we'll throw in some dissonant twists to show how inventive we are." The seams are obvious, "Insert Odd Sounds Here" in bold aural lettering. Vocalist/guitarist Luke Haines comes on with disaffected swagger and attempted social import of a more contemporary Ray Davies by way of Steve Harley's Cockney Rebel, but his lyrics, while showing the occasional clever turn, are simply not up to the task. The further you delve into the disk, the more tiresome the effort gets, as the stage makeup peels away in great, greasy gobs. That being said, a couple of numbers come close to redeeming the project: "Unsolved Child Murder" and the thematically "reply song" title track actually make the Davies affection work, with delicate, finely drawn melodies and a truly sad story.