Posts Tagged ‘Shyga! the Sunlight Mound’

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It’s a record that “sounds like an AI supercomputer trying to create a ‘70s rock record… Narrated by a drunk boy who’s just come back from tour.” That’s how Perth’s Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are pitching “Shyga! The Sunlight Mound” – an album title best bellowed out loud in your silliest Mighty Boosh voice.

Shyga! is an atomic blast of a listening experience, featuring some of the band’s fastest, loudest material yet. With enough juice to power a rocket, the ripping lead singles, ‘Tally-Ho’ and ‘Mr. Prism’, gave a good indication of what to expect, and came bundled with mind-melting Claymation videos.

If you dug those high-octane nuggets, you’ll be pleased to know the rest of Shyga! scales similar heights of speedy sonic insanity, evoking the strung out chaos of a week-long bender fuelled by boozy hijinks, debauchery, and – to use the band’s own euphemism – “chemical enthusiasm”. The explosively creative SHYGA! is their fourth album in nearly as many years for the Porn Crumpets, who have consistently delivered on the expectations that their brilliantly ridiculous band name has set.

Their ambitious two-part debut “High Visceral” (released back-to-back in 2016 and 2017) almost immediately established their sound, all tie-dyed riffs that looked back to ‘60s psychedelia but injected with the frenetic garage rock crunch of early Tame Impala, Pond, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Carving up house parties and venues along the way, they cultivated a bulletproof rep as one of Perth’s gnarliest rock shows.

In recent years, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets buzz from out West went national, and then global, allowing the band to spread their headbanging spectacle to Europe, the UK, and Japan. It was in that Groundhog Day blur of touring life – all celebratory late nights and headache-grey-tour-bus mornings – that Shyga! The Sunlight Mound began to take shape.

Forced off the road by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack McEwan – the singer, shredder, and creative engine of the wild Psychedelic Porn Crumpets locomotive – used the extended off-cycle period to reflect and rejuvenate. That’s the obvious starting point for countless rock records, but where Shyga! immediately distinguishes itself is in rather than slowing down and ruminating on the bizarre reality of touring life, it attempts to sonically recreate its intensity. The blistering energy “reflects the madness, crazy midweek adventures, highs and physical lows of touring,” Jack explains, “an album where every song is adding to a bender,” and paced like a punishing tour schedule, where moments to come up for air are rare and brief.

Blink and you’ll miss it Jack notes on the relatively calm opener ‘Big Dijon’, foreshadowing the scorching pace to come in the 40-min listen before the track detonates into ‘Tally-Ho’.

‘I’m getting used to waking up and feeling rough’ he sings between the squiggled guitar-monies of ‘Tripolosaur’, while ‘Pukebox’ is about “getting home from tour and trying to piece together what happened; it’s all a foggy, hazy memory.” .Rather than glorifying their debauchery, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets aren’t above taking the piss out of themselves. ‘The Terrors’ acknowledges that what goes up must come crashing down, with a battering wall of guitars breaking only for a descending melodic chorus that arrives like a comforting rush of endorphins amidst a hangover.

From the surging ‘Mr. Prism’ to the galloping rhythms of ‘Mundungus’ (honestly, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets should win some kind of trophy for naming things) Shyga! is like a runaway rollercoaster, where it often feels like the only thing keeping these songs from going off the rails is to maintain a breakneck forward momentum. It’s a helluva lotta fun, but it can also be exhausting.

There’s no doubting that Shyga! is Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ most intense release yet. There’s no room for the lengthy, progressive tendencies of High Visceral, paring back the spacier, experimental moments of 2019’s And Now For The Whatchamacallit in favour of the full-throttle nuttiness of setlist favourites like ‘Social Candy’ and ‘Ergophobia’.  

The turn to one lightning-paced belter after another might disappoint fans of the trippier parts of the band’s catalogue, and the way the ‘week-long bender’ concept functions can sometimes make Shyga! feel like one big blur. The mid-section especially risks sounding like too much of the same. But even though it functions like one, epic-sized 40-minute jam, there are dynamics to be found. Warm Melotron and warped string and flute patches occasionally bubble to the surface between the heaving wall of riffs and drums, and the band’s trademark sense of playful humour not only separates them from your standard issue guitar band but finds them pulling absurdist inspiration from the most unlikely of places.

The crunchy jangle of ‘Hats Off To The Green Bins’ channels the dread of cleaning up for a rental inspection, and ‘Sawtooth Monkfish’ is dotted with the vintage sounds of retro Japanese arcade games. “Pretty much a homage to all the pinball we were playing while touring around America,” Jack notes.

‘Mango Terrarium’ sounds like The Beatles had survived the ‘60s and became a ‘70s hard blues band, and the title describes what Jack’s home studio looked like, strewn with empty bottles after he became obsessed with Mango-infused beer. (“My brother described it as what a bee would taste when it extracts nectar from a flower.”)

It may have a penchant for the ridiculous, but the album’s craft is dead serious. They know how to offer an exhilarating album experience, and you can tell Jack paid a lot of attention to the album’s structure and sequencing. “There’s a lot of intentional[ly] shorter tracks on the record, aiming to boost the song following directly after to maintain that feeling of constantly moving forward and upward.”

There’s a method to the ‘Everything Up to 11’ madness, and after all the face-melting fretwork and hectic energy, Shyga! actually ends on a wholesome note. ‘Every old man tells me the same, live while you’re young and enjoy each day’ Jack wistfully intones over the frazzled plucking of closing track ‘The Tally of Gurney Gridman’.

It may not be breaking new ground but “SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound” proves that Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have flair and imagination to spare. It’s arguably their most daring, cohesive set yet and definitely Australia’s first great psych-rock saga of 2021.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets Shyga! The Sunlight Mound”  is out 5th February.

The Psychedelic Porn Crumpets continue to assert their status as one of Australia’s hardest working bands – pandemic be damned – in announcing the release of their new album, “Shyga! the Sunlight Mound”, set for release in February 2021. for the Perth group, creativity and production hasn’t stopped in 2020. Despite much of this year’s tour plans being put on pause, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have used their time off road to continue preparing for the release of their fourth studio release, and an eventual blistering return to stages around the world.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have already given fans an early taste of the forthcoming “Shyga! era, with ‘Mr. Prism’ in august. the creation of “Shyga! the Sunlight Mound” especially off the back of 2019’s huge album and “Now For The whatchamacallit”, came together in a different environment for McEwan and the results speak to the band’s evolution and McEwan’s evolution as a songwriter. “for the first time in a long time i was home without any tours booked, no work, no deadlines and I felt free to create. my writing process became ritualistic; every morning starting with a small walk to the local bottle shop at 11am and writing whatever flowed, allowing myself to design in all styles without boundaries, and not trying to theme the album early on. I haven’t had the luxury of writing this way since the first record, which i spent almost a year working on. it felt like I was myself again, creating without opinion or constraints. gliding through weeks with a day seeming to pass.”

I’m chuffed with how the album has turned out. For me the goal was to create something that effortlessly flowed from track 1-14 while shifting moods, gears, tempos and styles without losing energy. I wanted the overall vibe sounding like a cohesive piece that swirls with glitched out 70’s-inspired guitars, Zeppelin-esque drums and a booming P-H phat litmus sturdy fuzzy bass tone that hopefully you can crank with the old folks over a coupla cold frothies. 

They’ll be limited edition colour vinyl releases for each territory – details coming later on! Keep your eyes open.
And our brand spanking-new tune ‘Tally-Ho’ gets it’s first spin on Future Sounds with @anniemacmanus on @bbcradio1 tonight at 7pm(UK).
Can’t wait to share the new tunes with you, we’re extremely proud of this one!
All the best,
Jack