I think the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets made a resume of the best of King Gizz.
That is to say, if you need a catchup on why alla us weirdo John Dwyerites, acolytes to la psychedelie à la frenesie, are listening to, then this is it: the sound of our own garage-bound mania; the absolute bonkers timber-timbre shake of an otherworld derived from the concrete-and-car-covered asphalt pour of ours. Like the sonic maximalist garage-opera renditions of German Expressionism; a genre of aural accompaniments for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Metropolis replete with distortion and delay, portraying both the twisted horror in the shining city, opulent in their exploitation of visual metaphors as much as the modern prog-garage sound’s travail in timbre and dronework. The film music in employ of Nonagon Infinity paling in comparison to the horror soundtrack of Murder of the Universe, music made to determine the internal device via the sonic observations or whatever other mumbo-jumbo I would bullshit for my 11th grade English professor. Simply put the Australian and Garage-Psych scenes have been seeing an apogee these past three years that the words “See now: a facet of purely psychotropic warehouse music crafted from drone, garage, math and krautrock” hardly surprise us anymore.
So here I am with a bowl and a laptop, jotting down thoughts on the lastest offering of 2019 in a year still teasing the return of Kevin Parker, the next chapter of Ty Segall and the Freedom Band and a thrash metal record by King Gizz all while touting new Avey Tare, Pond, Wand, Stonefield, Murlocs and the rest of the flock of the Flightless and pondering why the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have tried to resume other bands’ trajectories. Oh sure; it’s not exactly as I describe it—there’s still the same spacerock fundamentals which King Gizzard records have thus far avoided and still link the Crumpets’ And Now For the Whatchamacallit back to both volumes of Highly Visceral. But those horns, swooning and jazzing and lowkey bopping your head along do naught but recall Sketches of Brunswick East while the synthesizers, when not blowing fuses in your brain, keep petting those hairs on the back of your neck like words of encouragement, except that they’re not words—they’re beyond words—just sounds, the unconscious sighs and coos, hmms and mmms that come with body language, all translated into Rolandspeak to give us the chansons that confide in us feelings of safety and home before abusing this space to kick out the jams with a 12 Bar Bruise.
I’m not even mad these Perthans open And Now For the Whatchamacallit with a brand of music one level-up from Post Animal’s brodown surf-party interpretation—the sound is just too within my tastes for me to absolutely hate it unless I was working from an absolute distaste of muzak, which I have thus far built up a tolerance to in the same vein one would for the tinnital ring in your ears from repeated years of heavy earbud listening, despite all warnings by teachers, coworkers, friends, whoever, you just learn to appreciate it behind a new set of earplugs; you might not be listening at full force, but should it come on it will neither disturb your day nor cause you to violently rip the radio out of your car and throw it on the street yodeling “FUCKING DANIEL POWTERRRRR” because you consider different standards for different banners, you modern emotional mute, you. Well, I do, and you do too!
Or maybe you don’t—I dunno who the hell you are reading this, I don’t know if you want to be as curved as my creature listening to music almost nonstop until a Gollumite wretch mumbling incoherencies re the jazz guitars forms comparate of “The Spider and Me” brimming into the portcullis “Sketches of Brunswick East II”and “Digital Hunger” caressing the back-six soft of your neck into “Dezi’s Adventure.” Because this is exactly what psychedelia should be doing—accompanying high people into their own seven hells of highness, a DnD sesh with no dice, just as my mother is accompanied unto her state of semi-serious Margaritaville bliss by a glass of red wine and some Jack Johnson in the garbs of Charon. Music makes scenes makes music.
And now for the twist: what I’m hearing is not just a King Gizzard record; it’s a Mild High Club record and a Portugal. The Man record, too. Because this Australian Psychedelic Rock conglomerate goes beyond Flightless, forming not a monopoly but a cartel of bands loosely colluding their talent; King Gizzard has made friends with every Neo-Psychedelic band bordering the Pacific—they have to!—They’re record moguls too, after all, and even if you don’t sign a band, tours are always on the table. Well, not this tour, Stonefield and ORB are primed and ready to banner for the King and His Label, so maybe next time, lads. Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, colluding talent. Should we really be surprised that bands of similar genres and countries are beginning to sound so alike? Should we criticize it? I hesitate: some of the best, most thought-provoking rap was produced at the turn of millennium by a collective called the Soulquarians, comprised of Common, Mos Def, Tqlib Kweli, Erykah Badu, J Dilla, D’Angelo, Bilal, Q-Tip et al powered, and in some cases directed, by Questlove and the Roots and Pino Palladino, formed into a afrobeatnik boho jazzrap hive of creativity that buzzed out a set of records that ranged in influences from Funkadelic to Fela Kuti to to John Coltrane to James Brown; there isn’t a point they don’t hit in celebrating the history of and removing the whiteface over black music. The Porn Crumpets may not be a part of the movement as much as the Soulquarians were a movement; but there is a scene and it is producing conspicuously similar music within and without itself—Cook Craig and the Mild High Club are due to converge on a neo-psychedelic Jetsonian long-player, Orb’s work to add a healthy dose of Sabbath to the tried-true timbre attacks of Castle Face cousins Oh Sees progresses and the Murlocs continue to add potent sixties garage forms to neo-psychdelic melodies. As for the wave of Ty Segallites? Every year brings a fresh batch of pasty strawberry-platinum blonde lookalikes; for the some of them, it’s a phase, for others, it’s a shtick, for the vast majority, it’s a dead record.
But the Porn Crumpets’ And Now For the Whatchamacallit variegates from punk-of-the-party to moodsetter DJ, hence the moments where the record distends upon uncompromising territories of thrashmobbery and delay-heavy chockblockery whips and lashes heads in orgies of rhythmic violence and the moments which harness the power of said forces to catapult you through space in your concrete vault you once called a garage and the moments it consequently repeats and renders old hat while also poking fun at themselves (“When In Rome”). It’s much more than the word heady could ever describe yet not as tasteful as their previous records. It’s not a dead record, just a record playing dead like a cheesy joke, as the bulk of this long-player is fine form, with only the “Fields, Woods, Time>Native Tongues>Social Candy” section wearing patience thin with so-so Portugal. The Manism’s from Censored Colours—a shame, really, as I find both records to observe a certain distance from their listeners in a trite, manufactured sense, but not an uncommon one in my experience with any Psychedelic Porn Crumpets record—there’s always a point where their sound begins to obscure any chance at widening their scope. After a while all this maximalism gets tiring and the brain just needs a rest, making the last triptych of this record all the sweeter, despite their Black Moth Super Rainbow pretensions.
The difference is, while I end up at the same place at the end of And Now For the Whatchamacallit, as I do Highly Visceral Vol. 2 I find myself lacking in wonder after listening to the former because of its transitional, myriad tastes—there is no concrete vision, just a bunch of tidbits and style quirks incorporated into the vision. Some albums do this well (Houses of the Holy, Aladdin Sane), the Porn Crumpets have only attained a level of “ok.” They’re fine artists, but I’m not yet sold on their importance to any somesuch scene when their music reminds me so much of their contemporaries anymore than after the first two iterative records.
There’s a wall holding stopping this band; I hope they can break it one day.
Album Artist: The Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Producer: Self-Produced w/ Michael Jellinek
Genre: Neo-Psychedelic Rock, Garage Rock
“Keen For Kick Ons?”
“Hymn For a Droid”
“Fields, Woods, Time”
“My Friend’s a Liquid”
“When in Rome”