Throughout their history, the acclaimed Perth-based outfit Psychedelic Porn Crumpets — Jack McEwan (vocals, guitar), Luke Parish (guitar), Danny Caddy (drums), Wayon Bilondana (bass) and multi-instrumentalist Chris Young — have developed a reputation for being one of Australia’s preeminent purveyors of enormous riff-based psych rock.
The Perth psych rockers’ fifth album Night Gnomes officially dropped today through Marathon Artists/What Reality? Records. The follow-up to last year’s critically applauded SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound, Night Gnomes sees the acclaimed Aussie outfit throws the listener into a range of different sonic territories and emotional fields through the exploration of even more sonic influences and creative tangents than before while being firmly rooted in the sound and approach that has won them fans across the world.
Written in Perth during pandemic related lockdowns, and recorded at McEwan’s Perth home and Blackbird Studio with Dave Parkin, Night Gnomes is informed by the sense of isolation and the accompanying mania of being out of sync with the normalcy and patterns of the life that McEwan and the rest of the band had gotten accustomed to over the past few years.
“Night Gnomes is a bit darker than the other four releases. I don’t know if that’s the bi-product (sic) of being locked inside Western Australia for the past two years but it’s definitely given us a lot of time to think,” McEwan says of the new album. “I reckon this record has a bit more of a KID A/Amnesiac vibe to it, it’s a bit weirder, a little left of the ‘psych/pop’ world we’ve been tagged under. I kinda like that though, forever expanding, variety is the spice of life! It starts moody, talks of break ups and new relationships; gets kinda chirpy in the middle and then ends really beautifully, a bit like Jurassic Park 3. I reckon Spielberg might actually rate it, he’s a mixture of a bag, ain’t he.
“All in all, I’m very proud of everyone’s efforts, it’s a step up which is a good direction to be stepping and it’s a good body of work that I’m happy to share with the world, our little patch of darkness. And if deeper isn’t your cup of moonshine, then at least you know the sixth album will be upbeat as F@!#.””
Because the album follows so closely to its immediate predecessor, in some ways the material on Night Gnomes feels a bit like a continuation of the same narrative ideas and story that McEwan initially dreamed up. Unsurprisingly, the album retains elements that will appeal to the band’s oldest fans while providing a peak of where the band is going next sonically. “I stepped up a few recording techniques and tried to hone in on the production side of things a little more, gave my mental train a fresh lick of paint and tried to make the album step up in quality from the previous four releases, while still holding onto that ‘Crumpet’ approach to songwriting,” McEwan says.
“There’s definitely a few moments in older albums where I’ve been lazy and tweaked things after we’ve finished recording but with Night Gnomes, I made sure to stick with Dave’s ethos and polish every track before it was sent to Jelly to mix. I’m much happier with how my vocals are sitting now, I left a lot of room in the tracks to bring them out rather than adding twenty million layers beforehand, it feels a lot cleaner, the idea for each song is present and accessible without too much ear straining. To me, it’s our best work. I feel like we’re moving forward while still learning and these albums are a checkpoint to where we’re at, and for now we’re happy with our little Night Gnome.”
Night Gnomes‘ latest single “Acid Dent” is a head banging ripper, centered around enormous, power chord-driven riffs, rumbling bass, driving rhythms paired with mosh pit friendly hooks and McEwan’s punchy shouts. But while thrashing with a relentless and seemingly carefree abandon, the song sees its narrator offering a bit of a concession to growing older and maybe slowing down a bit from some of the riotous decadence of youth — before its way too late.
Every generation has their means of escapism and for some reason here in Perth, or at least when we were in our heyday you could purchase mushrooms and acid from any decent supermarket,” McEwan explains. “So it’s inevitable we’re gonna be munching jumpers and chatting to fences in a few decades, but as for now, well… we’ve seemed to somehow milk a career out of it. Who’d have thought. But yeah, it’s probably not going to end well, hence my newly appointed position on drug safety. Then again, someone also once told me, “Hell hath no fury like a man who’s pressed pause on his drug abuse”, so now I’m slightly more perplexed as to where I stand. Anyway, good luck to everyone, enjoy yourselves but remember nobody wants to pick up your marbles after.”
“When we were younger, we were carefree and living tall, “McEwan says. “You get home with a handful of stuff in your pocket from whatever festival and just munch all of it, until you wake up in the morning so scattered. If we kept carrying on this way, we’d wind up in mental institutions by 35. So this is a nice little story about slowing down a bit.
Directed by frequent visual collaborator Ollie Jones, the video for “Acid Dent” continues a run of claymation-based animated videos. This time, we follow a mustachioed maintenance man working at PPC Chemicals, who has a terrible accident at work: He falls into a glowing vat of toxic sludge.
After being treated at a local hospital, he returns home to discover that as a result of his accident, everything he touches melts before his eyes. The video ends with some hilarious yet horrifying, horror movie-inspired hijinx. “I’ve always been a fan of the horror sub genre ‘ MELT MOVIES ‘ — films like Street Trash, The Blob and Body Melt,” Ollie Jones explains. “So when I was given the title of the track, I knew what I wanted to do right away. A simple story of a guy who after a freak accident is granted the powers to melt everything he touches and how it escalates in a comedy of errors throughout the video. Think the Skittles advert only more gruesome.”