Father Murphy, one of the most mysterious and enigmatic musical entities to emerge from Italy in recent years, presents their fifth full-length via The Flenser. This dark psychedelic / industrial cabaret is a religion-themed concept album titled Croce (“Cross” in Italian), one side representing suffering and sacrifice and the flip reflecting what comes after—the end of suffering, resurrection, or perhaps oblivion. The work was recorded by John Dieterich in Albuquerque, NM, and mixed by Greg Saunier. From the shadowy atmospheres of Croce spring forth unexpected blurts of impossibly catchy noise pop, at times operatic like some twisted musical detailing the trials and tribulation of the crucifixion. Male and female vocals by Freddie Murphy and Chiara Lee intertwine over distorted blasts of guitar crunch, anchored by stuttering, homebuilt percussion. This sound is textural and nuanced yet noisy and chaotic, carefully sculpted into jagged shards of fragmented pop. A-side closer “In Solitude” is an appropriately dour slab of murky miserablism that sounds like a slow sonic death, a haunting dirge that dissolves into that ineffable space between the record’s two sides; the netherworld, the afterlife, Purgatory. But Father Murphy erupts from this stygian blackness with the second half of Croce—the light to the A-side’s dark.