On Thelema, the Murder City Devils render their distinctive brand of hardcore garage punk with confidence and coherence. The ensemble playing is tight and economic as bassist Derek Fudesco and the menacing double-guitar brigade of Nate Manny and Dan Gallucci crank out unison rhythms that are bridged by Lesie Hardy's sustained keyboard textures and drummer Coady Willis' clever use of dynamics. "Bear Away" and "Bride of the Elephant Man" are the two most melodic offerings, as each instrumentalist contributes pop hooks that are infectious and harmonically intriguing. Vocalist Spencer Moody's constant screaming wears thin in a hurry, but his attempt to actually sing on the verses of "364 Days," a jangly mid-tempo folk-rock composition that yearns for the blessing of St. Nicholas with weeping violins and an old-world accordion accompaniment, is the band's finest moment. Despite the album's short running time, the Murder City Devils cover a lot of ground on this outing.
AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli