Home Read Albums Of The Week: The Murlocs | Calm Ya Farm

Albums Of The Week: The Murlocs | Calm Ya Farm

King Gizzard's Ambrose Kenny-Smith and co. get high & head for the country on the sunny, freewheeling followup to their darkly personal 2022 concept disc Rapscalion.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Spiked with their signature breed of sharply crafted garage-punk — and with lead vocalist, guitarist and harmonica triple threat Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s surrealist musings on the ever-turbulent world around him — Calm Ya Farm, the new collection from Melbourne’s Murlocs, twists country-rock convention into a free-flowing album fully in touch with the frenetic energy of modern life.

The band’s most collaborative work to date, Calm Ya Farm unfolds in more elaborate and sophisticated arrangements and achieves new sonic depths largely by creating space for all five members to pursue their most eccentric impulses. “With this record we tried to steer away from all the distortion and dirt and grit, or at least let the grit come off a bit more clean-sounding,” says Kenny-Smith, who — when he isn’t making music with guitarist Callum Shortal (Orb), drummer Matt Blach (Beans) and Tim Karmouche (Crepes) — also plays with bassist Cook Craig (Pipe-Eye) in the globally beloved psych-rock powerhouse King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Over the course of its 12 wildly catchy tracks, Calm Ya Farm touches on everything from the vicious tone of political discourse to the brain-addling effect of conspiracy theories, adorned with such unexpected flourishes as lush flute melodies, potent flamenco-guitar riffs, and dreamlike Farfisa tones.

Photo by Izzie Austin.

While Calm Ya Farm contains plenty of frenzied tension, the album quickly reveals its power to ease the listener into a more serene state of mind. This is fitting for the album’s title, which Kenny-Smith explains is “something my partner always says to me when I’m feeling stressed-out or anxious. It made sense with the whole country theme of the record, but it’s generally a good reminder for day-to-day life. Now whenever I look down, I can remember to just chill out and take everything a little easier.”

When The Murlocs first began working on Calm Ya Farm, the Melbourne-based band had visions of creating a quintessential country-rock record: A collection of sublimely mellowed-out songs inspired by iconic albums like The ByrdsSweetheart Of The Rodeo and The Rolling StonesExile On Main St. But as those songs absorbed the distinct sensibilities of each member, the band’s seventh full-length soon took on its own unruly character.

The latest in a series of creatively adventurous releases, Calm Ya Farm follows the effervescent introspection of 2021’s Bittersweet Demons and the sonically heavy storytelling of 2022’s Rapscallion. With its glorious abundance of loose grooves and soul-soothing melodies, Calm Ya Farm achieved its sonic depth by creating space for all five members to pursue their most eccentric impulses. “It seems like we’re at a good peak at the moment, where we’re always sort of surprising ourselves with what we’re able to come up with,” says Kenny-Smith. “It feels like as we keep getting older and becoming closer as friends, we’re getting better and better at making music together.”


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