Home Read Albums Of The Week: The Murlocs | Bittersweet Demons

Albums Of The Week: The Murlocs | Bittersweet Demons

The psychedelic garage is back in business on the King Gizz offshoot's fifth album.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On their fifth album Bittersweet Demons, The Murlocs share a collection of songs reflecting on the people who leave a profound imprint on our lives, the saviors and hellraisers and assorted other mystifying characters. The Murlocs (whose lineup includes two members of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard) recorded at Button Pushers Studio in their home of Melbourne, Australia, dreaming up a prismatic sound that pinballs from sunshine-pop to blues-punk to wide-eyed psychedelia. What emerges from these 11 infectious tracks is their most personal and boldly confident work yet, a beautifully complex body of work, one that shines a light on the fragilities of human nature while inducing the glorious head rush that accompanies any Murlocs outing.

The album’s rollicking first single Francesca was written as a rip-roaring celebration of the rejuvenated life of frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s mom, with music written by Murlocs keyboard and guitarist Tim Karmouche. Ambrose says,“The song is about my mother and how she had been lost for love since the separation from my father when I was 10. In the last year and a half or so she’s found love again, with a very close family friend of ours, someone who has always been a godfather and mentor to me in many ways. This has changed her spirit immensely for the better. You can really see the pop in her step as this enormous weight has been lifted off her shoulders.”

Citing some of his favorite songs as being odes to impressive women — like Van Morrison’s Gloria — Ambrose explains, “Francesca is my mother’s middle name and I’ve always loved it so much.” Of turning his songwriting lens to his mother, and celebrating her rediscovered joie de vivre, he adds,“It’s probably the most positive, feel-good song we’ve ever done. It’s also the closest we’ve ever come to having an ’80s phase.”

Directed by Alex McLaren, the Francesca video was shot at the end of April 2020. The band’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia was coming out of one of its first short Covid lockdown periods and restrictions had eased for a short period of time. The band and director quickly jumped on the opportunity to shoot while they had the chance.

Says Ambrose: “I remembered being at a festival and bumping into our longtime video-clip collaborator and friend, Alex Mclaren. I had brought him back to our campsite and he played the song I Love L.A. by Randy Newman, which ultimately brought the tents down and got the party started.” Newman’s 1983 classic soft-top music video informed Francesca, with the car footage being shot along Ivanhoe Boulevard in Melbourne, where Ambrose’s mom grew up.”