“Yeah I think the lyrics are crawling back into you while you’re sitting in a chair, squirming while seeing the point of view of a psycho.” The Murlocs frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith explains the idea behind the band’s video for “Comfort Zone.” “Which, uh, is unpleasant, but I think it kinda made sense to have something shocking to go along with that track.”
The deeply soulful piece is about how the modern world is becoming alarmingly numb to constant violence. The brilliant video switches back and forth between a Clockwork Orange-esque scene of Kenny-Smith twitching slowly, yet frantically in a seat and a POV shot of a clearly disturbed man going around committing increasingly violent and destructive crimes. It keeps the audience as appalled as intrigued the whole way through, a theme that runs parallel to the idea that modern media is keeping the public stupefied, some might say morbidly entertained, by the everyday violence that occurs.
Manic Candid Episode, the latest album by Psych-Soul heavyweights The Murlocs, is the Australian outfits strongest release to date. It’s packed full of captivating sounds that identify as modern psych rock without getting trapped in the box of repetitiveness that so many psych bands these days do.
The album is full of surprises and a wonderful palate of styles that are tastefully layered throughout the 40 minute adventure. At times you’ll be banging your head completely enthralled by the power of rock n’ roll, at others you’ll be deep in melancholic thought provoked by Kenny-Smith’s potent poetry. You may think you know what’s coming next but the Aussie musicians never run out of pleasing revelations that keep the listener on a treadmill of enthusiasm and excitement, never knowing what might be thrown at them next.
Some of the detectable inspirations may be expected, you can hear ever-present ’60s rock, R&B sounds occasionally pierce through the album, met kindly with grooves that could easily slide into soul or funk territory. Dig deeper and you can find that hip hop also played a role in this piece of art.
“The first kind of music I got into after blues music initially was stuff like Grandmaster Flash, Wu-tang, Cypress Hill and NWA,” Kenny-Smith explains, “I’ve just found it hard not to rhyme things, I’ve done it a bit unintentionally. Naturally I kinda relate more to types of rhymes that might be unexpected.”
Seems to be a running theme with this gang. The Murlocs are lots of things but they’re never predictable.