The Murlocs – Bittersweet Demons (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

The Murlocs – Bittersweet Demons (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 42:37 minutes | 510 MB | Genre: Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © ATO (UK)

On their fifth album, The Murlocs reflect on those who leave a profound imprint on our lives: the saviors and hellraisers and assorted other mystifying characters. The most personal and boldly confident work yet from the Melbourne-based five-piece (which includes two members of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard); the album sets their storytelling to eleven infectious tracks written mostly on piano, lending a greater emotional intensity to the band’s restless and radiant brand of garage-rock.

Something interesting happened to Australian band the Murlocs as they neared the end of their first decade together. Thanks to the double-gut punch of tragedy and reality, they grew up a little, and the result of this maturity can be heard on 2021’s Bittersweet Demons. Until this record, the band — fronted by King Gizzard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and made up of members of ORB, Crepes, and Beans — were content to bash out rambling garage rock tunes punctuated by Smith’s harmonica and loads of youthful enthusiasm. This album is more introspective and restrained, with many songs that amble along at a leisurely country-rock pace. For the first time, Kenny-Smith and the band wrote most of the songs on piano and there is a stately singer/songwriter feel to much of it. The title track has a gentle lilt and tender sentiments that revolve around the death of a close friend, “Eating at You” has a shaggy, Band-like feel as the keys, slide guitar, and harmonica deliver a down under take on Americana, and “Skewhiff” rolls along with a wobbly, Dylan-esque feel. Kenny-Smith sounds at home singing these kinds of introspective ballads and the band has the light touch required to put them over with some gentle emotional punch. Paired with these quieter moments — and songs like the swaying “Skyrocket” that dial the speed down a notch but not quite to ballad level — the rockers that make up the rest of the album really pop. “Francesca” bursts out of the gate like a horse with no rider, “Illuminate the Shade” melds washes of organ with biting guitars and a yelped Kenny-Smith vocal, and “Blue Eyed Runner” struts like mid-period Stones, only without any manly swagger. The blend of thoughtful ballads, melancholy midtempo janglers, and nimble uptempo tracks is something different for the band, but they definitely prove up to the challenge. Bittersweet Demons feels like the group’s first album that isn’t just a lark made during downtime stolen from other bands. Now the Murlocs come across like a real band looking to make something meaningful, both to them and to the listener, and in that regard, the album is a total success. – Tim Sendra

01. The Murlocs – Francesca (02:42)
02. The Murlocs – Dangerous Nature (03:26)
03. The Murlocs – Bittersweet Demons (03:37)
04. The Murlocs – Eating at You (03:23)
05. The Murlocs – Illuminate the Shade (03:53)
06. The Murlocs – No Self Control (04:00)
07. The Murlocs – Skyrocket (04:35)
08. The Murlocs – Skewiff (04:30)
09. The Murlocs – Limerence (03:26)
10. The Murlocs – Blue Eyed Runner (04:01)
11. The Murlocs – Misinterpreted (04:59)


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