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Psychedelic Porn Crumpets Dissect New Album ‘Night Gnomes’ Track By Track

New music from Psychedelic Porn Crumpets is here, baby.

The WA group have released their fifth album, perfectly titled Night Gnomes – it’s a wild romp from the band who brought us SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound only last year. That’s right. The dust has barely settled on their last stacked collection of material by for Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, the work never stops.

The band is heading out on tour this June and July but in the meantime, sink your teeth into this break down of Night Gnomes, direct from Psychedelic Porn Crumpets songwriter Jack McEwan.

1. Terminus, The Creator

From the get-go, I wanted Night Gnomes to be strung to the teeth with hybrid flavours, a conglomerate of perception that twitches your auditory reflex. So, song one had to rectify that and carry the listener from whatever emotion they were on before, lose all that and blissfully disconnect them into this record. An unrecognisable barrage of glitching melody felt a good point to start.

The beginning of ‘Terminus’ was originally a longer track intended to be the intro for a song we were working on for Shyga! Myself and Rish were sending over files to each other, building upon the layers of noise the previous person had created until it reached the pulsating defected sandwich it is now. I liked the idea of something that was scrapped/dead having a new beginning, hence where the name comes from. The section that follows draws inspiration from that same passage, ending an older relationship with a new beacon of light on the horizon, staring at an unpredictable future but feeling confident that’s where I needed to head.

2. Lava Lamp Pisco

After Shyga! I wanted to write something a bit heavier, get back to the Sabbath roots and chug on a riff for yonks till it hums like a Novocaine mantra. I wanted it to feel like it was constantly progressing, getting more chaotic with drones, swirling between dissonant layers and obliterate the body like it’s just been jangled by a Tyson hook. 

The lyrics weren’t intentionally meant to be dark, I’ve always liked to keep our music upbeat and positive but some days it felt like everything was blurring into one, waiting for life to resume into some sense of normality. But what is normal? Change is good, variety is the spice of life and from these weird times, I can truly say I’ve never been happier.

So the Pisco of life continues, building with bulldozers, creating from the rubble, chewing on bricks with a toothless optimism. It’s nice to feel rounded.

3. Dread & Butter

I went through a huge phase of only playing acoustic last year. I was sick of not playing live, which then turned into doubt we’d ever play again, to now having a mountain of apprehension about what a band even is. The ‘little lullabies’ as I’d refer to them just eased off pressure, something I’d write with no intention of showing anybody.

It wasn’t until later in the album cycle I thought, “Fuck it! Why can’t I release something with a bit of emotion attached to it!'”, and since then the album took quite a dark turn haha. But there’s light to keep the listener intrigued enough to not wither away. 

‘Dread & Butter’ is me reflecting on what once was, a time I’ll never have back but am grateful for, growing up in England, building forts in the woods, playing ‘count the brain cells disappear’ most days throughout my twenties, loving, not loving, existing, not existing, working out what scenarios lead to the creation of characteristics that developed the mind I now travel with, swirling a million thoughts into a therapists cocktail and asking for ten more, sorry bars shut mate.

Discovering life’s easier alone, rediscovering it’s not, meeting someone only dreams produce and that you truly admire and wish you had a billion more lifetimes to share with each other because one doesn’t cut the mustard. Supporting a shit football team, winning a world cup, losing a world cup, wishing your best friend was a monk, aaaaaaand churn my head into butter. 

4. Bubblegum Infinity

Our cute little playful member of the Night Gnomes club. I think there are mixed opinions of this song in the group but I’m sticking by it. I like its pop sensibility and melancholy notions, it’s cheerful and good-natured, it’s not trying to be something profound, more a statement of life at this time and by calling it ‘Bubblegum Infinity’, we’re showcasing that lighthearted vulnerability. So go easy on us metal fans.

A lot of the album is about trying to work out what the F#@! is going on, in general life and obviously, the period of time we’ve all found ourselves dormant in for the past two years. I started reading a few quotes from philosophers because hey! They might know what’s going on, but mostly it was a bunch of cleverly worded gibberish that was drenched in self turmoil that thankfully, serendipitously, unbeknownst to me was the thing I found comfort in. That nobody has a clue what life is and we’re all winging it as we go! Cheers, William of Ockham. 

There have been about 50 different variations of ‘Bubblegum Infinity’. It started off as a track intended for Royal Blood, but I don’t think we showed them in the end (why the fuck would they listen to it anyway (really sad face)). So it sat for a few months with just the fuzzy bass lines, unassembled and barely a song until I revisited the track at the beginning of this year intending to give it more of a structure and add some extra instrumentation.

The song used to open with a riff that was side-chained to the kick drum, so it sounded like your rib cage was thumping around, in a good way, but then that’s how every Crumpet song starts. So I took it to jam one day and we scrapped about three minutes of material. It felt way stronger, both dynamically and sonically, it felt like we’d uncovered the clutter, ripped its poor old head off,  but now that transparent(y) (if i put a (Y) on the end of anything you’ll understand) guides the song to build into that chorus and not give anything away beforehand.

I swapped the heavy guitars for acoustics and based the lyrics around feeling useless being in a band that was not being a band, looking for any direction where sense was present and then taking comfort in the fact that nobody has a clue what’s going on. 

5. Sherbet Straws

This was the first song I wrote after I’d purchased some new hardware for my studio. My old interface died as well as my computer I’d been working off for years (extremely sad face). I’d been in need of an upgrade for yonks, so it was probably a good thing; I was getting quite complacent recording lo-fi Euro-Electro.

I had this little acoustic melody floating around that I tried on my slippers, added an upbeat refrigerator pattern and went to town seeing if I could create something with more clarity, more dynamic and more width. More, more, morbid man I am, Sam, I am.

The song felt like it wrote itself, I’d been trying to write fast-paced metal tracks for weeks that I forgot what other music sounded like when I finally took a breather and re-listened to what I was working on this little gem popped out. It was nice to recall a style of music I’d forgotten about, something fragile and warm. I remember giving myself more space to record while constantly muttering to myself, “Don’t try to convolute the track, Jack, you swine, you utter, utter fool”. 

Once the music was complete I felt refreshed, I felt like I had this new direction in which the album could progress. It restored a bit of faith I’d lost along the album process journey where I didn’t know what I was doing. The lyrics follow that transformation, ‘every day is different and you never know when opportunity might present itself’. I thought it would be great if you could communicate with future versions of yourself to see how things turn out, but then I suppose that’s what makes life so interesting. Aww.

In regards to the name of the title, it quite literally just reminded me of a sherbet straw. Plus the copious amounts of nose beers that were prevalent at the time.

6. Night Gnomes

Every album needs a little Beatles jingle! We only decided to add this song to the record about a week before the deadline. A Night Gnome feels like that period of time before sunrise when you’re still kicking on but don’t really have any reason or words left in the tank, so you just exist because you don’t want the night to end. Then someone throws a garden chair over a fence and the police get called, but that’s okay ’cause your flight leaves in 36 minutes. It felt like a playful title for the album too. 

The acoustics were recorded way back around the Whatchamacallit period. I’d had some rough lyrics down then re-recorded the bass, some percussion and a couple of acoustics towards the end of the song. I kinda like the flow of it as it feels like it steps up in production as the song progresses. Rather than re-record everything again, it was kinda nice to leave the old parts in. I like its childish joy, it’s just a happy track about gnomes.

7. Bob Holiday

Mr. Bob Holiday! I genuinely didn’t know he was already a person, I named the track that because I thought, “What a strong name! You could achieve anything with that”, and then later found out he was an actor that played Superman. So yeah, man of steel. 

This song was written about a month after Shyga! I was definitely still in the same frame of writing. It was left as a B-Side while I worked out a concept for Night Gnomes but the more I created, the more I tinkered away on other garbage, the more I kept coming back to this song. Sometimes you just can’t beat a good old riff accompanied by a crash cymbal. 

It’s about trying to find yourself, whether you’re having a bad trip or just in general life, sometimes it’s nice to be grounded. I myself am terrified all the time so I thought it’d be nice to have a song that says, “It’s ok mate, as long as you’re trying then you’re all good… you pathetic human.”

8. Microwave Dave

This song came about after I’d finished an interview with a lovely Scottish bloke called Alex, we were talking about my lyrics and how pretty much everything is in first person. I’d never really thought about it before, I’ve always just used writing as a way of getting my thoughts down, similar to a diary, just a little release and then I’ll move on.

So when the idea of writing a track from someone else’s point of view came up I thought, “Jesus! I must be such an egotistical bastard if I can’t think from any other perspective.” So along came Dave. A miserable gentleman who’s so routined in his day to day life he never even questions it.

I suppose a lot of us do that, somehow drag ourselves through to the weekend and then repeat that process without barely taking a breather or looking up to see what The Fuck IS GOING ON! And then you die, end. Nah that’s cooked. I liked the idea that he does question it, he does look around and after all his pondering and yearning for a good chat he realises we’re all just as lonely, everyone’s sad, everybody cries; aye Michael Stipe! sometimes. Unless you’re Bob Holiday. 

9. Acid Dent

My goodwill ‘Drugs are bad for you kids’ song. And to be perfectly honest, they probably are. But good luck telling that to the youth of today I tell ya! It’s not like that safe ’60s pot we used to smoke. Not like the prescribed methamphetamine we ’50s housewives were doing! Not like that Cretic Wine us Romans would devour.

Every generation has its means of escapism and for some reason here in Perth, or at least when we were in our hay day you could purchase mushrooms and acid from any decent supermarket. 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. 

10. In Dream, Out

This is the sound I’d hope to imagine that vibrates throughout my body as I ascend into heaven. I don’t believe in heaven nor would I qualify under the conditions of which to enter, but it’s a beautiful concept, so much so that I’d feel really jipped if it was real, knowing I’d have all of eternity to postulate my poor decision making. 

11. Slinky / Holy Water

And here we are! The final track of the album. I always like the last song on a record, it’s gotta summarise everything, leave the listener wanting another mouthful even though they just listened to my year’s worth of hard-fought, battled and bruised work on their kettle speaker.

Hopefully, they’ll appreciate it though. In many ways, it’s a sign-off, but you’re only as good as your last release so the last song needs to be everything. It’s gotta be the resounding resolution of the material you’ve just put out, while also solidifying the groundwork for any future content nobody has even begun to fathom yet. That’s why it’s more important than track one. Yeah, I said it.

So hopefully I’ve talked this track up enough about what I THINK it needs to be, in theory, I know what to do, yet in practice and performance, I probably struggle to navigate my way around a computer. But I’m genuinely chuffed with this track, trumpet blown. It recalls all those acoustics I was chatting about previously, it waffles on about, “Why is life so weird, man”, which seems to be the theme of our record.

It also builds into a big old ballad that you wish had lyrics so you can sing along too but instead, it just goes, “Ooooooh” and “Aaaaah”. I like that though, and after months of battling whether to write for other people or make something for myself or write what you think will be a good song or write because you just feel like writing, at the end of the day it only really matters what I think, and Richard Kingsmill.

Get your tickets for Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ tour here.

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