The Pollen & The Rot

Megan Anderson

Revel in darkness, not despair. Curtis McMurtry’s new LP explores a ravenous hunger for change.

AMM May 29 2024

Curtis McMurtry album release show, Friday at Capt. Quack’s Soundspace, with Zack Wiggs & Sydney Wright.

Curtis McMurtryThe Pollen & The Rot

It’s not that dark subject matter is something new for Curtis McMurtry. Quite the opposite. Like the sinister tones of Toothless Messiah (2021), or the poetic heart sting of The Hornet’s Nest (2017), McMurtry effortlessly embraces a darker, more cynical side of his storytelling technique. And on The Pollen and The Rot, the intrigue arises from McMurtry’s depiction of characters drawn toward significant change, relentless creatures as volatile as they are subversive, cast in rich atmospheres of haunting cello (frequent collaborator Diana Burgess), pedal steel (Jules Belmont), saxophone (Sterling Steffen), and unique percussion arrangements (Memphis Kee‘s Paul Pinon).

But rather than stirring feelings of bleakness, the album is celebratory in its intensity and grimly satirical bent. “Singing about peace and love can be a struggle for me,” admits McMurtry, “but spite is a never-ending well of inspiration.”

McMurtry invites you to his album-release show Friday, May 31, at Capt. Quack’s Soundspace, 5326 Menchaca Rd., featuring a line-up with Zack Wiggs and Sydney Wright. Doors at 7:30 p.m.

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