Review Summary: Live while you're young, enjoy each day
Listening to SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound
, the frantic fourth full-length project from the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, you get the sense that the lads who make up the Aussie psych-rock outfit really, really
miss touring. Exuding levels of kinetic, haywire energy no doubt capable of leveling a small village and putting it back together again: SHYGA!
was clearly designed for a live setting, practically begging to be played loud and proud. All the hazy, tie-dye nuance and relative restraint of both High Visceral
records and 2019’s And Now for the Whatchamacallit
melts away here in favour of a relentless, no-holds-barred groove-fest. Lead singles “Tally-Ho”, “The Terrors” and “Mundungus” are, quite frankly, insane - undoubtedly the heaviest the Crumpets have taken their sound whilst still sticking firmly to their garage-y, hard rock roots. It’s still music to boogie, woogie and (most importantly) boogie-woogie
to, retaining a light-hearted, danceable character despite the rather breathless direction the quintet have chosen to take in 2021.
The more time you spend with SHYGA!
, however, the more all of its gorgeous little details begin to bubble to the surface. “Mango Terrarium”, by way of an example, sets sail on a sea of hallucinogenic soup, gradually fading into fog and fleeting fuzz as the voyage continues. It’s a more subtle blend of colours and textures than the band’s typically alternating approach to stylistic synergies tends to allow for, the hard rock edge to their sound slowly softening and warping back into form rather than starply flicking on and off as and when required. The same trick shows up on “Hats off to the Green Bins”, starting out as a relatively straightforward Crumpet slowburner before slipping into gloriously hazy reverb and blissful, ossicalting vocal harmonies. The lads clearly kept themselves busy last year by honing their craft - despite frontman Jack McEwan’s lyrical obsession with the mundanity and mild-alcoholism of lockdown suggesting otherwise - with SHYGA!
setting the new high-watermark for all their future releases as a result.
Having had the pleasure of catching the Crumpets live in 2019 at a crummy, beaten-up pub just 20 minutes from my flat, I was struck by how much additional umpth
the band were able to pack into their already rather umpth-y
sound through an in-the-moment performance. With SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound
, Jack and co. have miraculously managed to bottle that umpth
, sure to deliver a dizzying dose of fun and frivolity into living rooms around the world (or, at the very least, into mine). It’s a record to dance your way through the apocalypse to, brimming with appropriate levels of silliness and glee, all the way up to its stunning closer. As the riffs subside and grooves give way, “The Tale of Gurney Gridman'' fades into fractal, glitchy acoustics. Your head begins to spin, as the album’s core message finally reveals itself:
Don't wait for the world to spin, it's not waiting 'round for anyone
There's no finish line, ticket sign or button to start it all again
Every old man, tells me the same
Live while you’re young, enjoy each day