The Murlocs: Rapscallion [Album Review]

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The Murlocs
ATO Records [2022]

The Murlocs have returned quickly since last year’s more piano driven Bittersweet Demons album with a batch of rock n’ roll that may represent some of their most frantic psych-tinged concoctions yet. The Melbourne five-piece never feels like a side project even though its members have duties in other bands especially frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Craig Cook that stay plenty busy with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Because of those other commitments, Rapscallion found the members mostly recording their pieces separately. The band credits this factor as why the record is tighter and more concise. After one listen, I think you will agree with Rapscallion’s focused sound.

The first four tracks have tons of snappy guitar licks that are both fuzzed and fever filled. It is also the most forward sounding rock record from The Murlocs as many of the songs sound next level. The very tight “Virgin Criminal” probably contains one of the most “radio rock” vibes of the bunch. It has a slower burning groove that soars when the chorus takes off. On just about every track, The Murlocs showcase their instrumental talent because they can pull off sharp inter-song transitions that are instantly memorable. The rolling “Farewell To Clemency” is a good representation of this while the band is also not afraid to insert some muscular riffing on a song like “Bellarine Ballerina.” They can also slow down things with a mid-tempo strummer like “Compos Mentis,” which is a highlight on the record.

Rapscallion touches down in a wide spectrum of rock musical genres that nicely harnesses their energy. The tempos can be up or down, but The Murlocs completely control your experience here that will leave a lasting impression. At the end of the day, sometimes you just want a rollicking rock n’ roll record that is pick up and play. Rapscallion from The Murlocs is that album!

“Living Under A Rock” / “Compos Mentis” / “Virgin Criminal”

Ty Segall / Acid Dad / The Strokes

Bittersweet Demons (2021) / Old Locomotive (2017)

Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp | ATO Records

Christopher Anthony
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