For an insight into the haunted mindset of Ukraine act My Personal Murderer, look no further then the Youtube videos which accompany their songs. They depict two very disturbed looking men with what appears to be blood smeared on the wall behind them. The suggestion from the tension on their faces is that something terrible has happened.
Comparisons can undermine the true talent of a group but it has to be said that the vocals of frontman Eugene Chebotarenko are a dead ringer for David Sylvian. That pained, echoing quivering as well as the 1980’s synths are the bedrock of My Personal Murderer’s sound but it’s an approach which certainly has legs.
The title track presents a stylish opening to the record but it’s rich in attractive miserabilism. ‘She’s Dead’ seems to borrow a melody from China Crisis’ ‘Black Man Ray’ but turns it from an optimistic tune into something much more sinister. For a brief moment, they deviate from machines as ‘Danger Dancer’ replaces the synths with acoustic guitar and piano; proving that they can convey raw feelings without the trimmings, whilst on ‘Witchfriend’ Chebotarenko is a model of yearning and restraint as guitars rage around him.
Regardless of what some may think of synth-led music, My Personal Murderer balance sophistication with no little substance. Furthermore, in Chebotarenko they have a emotional weapon which gives their songs the gravitas that can elude so many of their contemporaries.