Pandemic locks down deep fifth album for Perth psych-rockers

Where Shyga! was a “summer album”, full of vivid, sharp guitar work on tracks like Tally-Ho and Pukebox, the primary single from Night Gnomes Lava Lamp Pisco – was replete with buzzing Sabbath-style guitars and lyrics asking: “Can you take another day off work? Can you take another day of sleeping?”

The sonic temper lifts to a lighter tone on tracks like Dread & Butter and Bubblegum Infinity, however McEwan can’t assist marvel: “maybe this is the first [album] I’ve been cooped up in the winter writing.”

“I think it’s been an accumulation of all your thoughts after being locked away for two years and not being allowed out of the country,” he stated.

“When [lockdown] felt like it wasn’t going to lift, that’s when the existential thoughts kind of crept in; like, ‘Oh my God, what if we never do music again, what if this is the last record?’ or, ‘Is this our careers over? Maybe you’ve gotta go think about working back on a building site again’.

“That was definitely the sort of night gnomes – hence the [album] name; the demons.”

Even the album artwork channels Hieronymus Bosch, a change in tempo from the tripped-out colourways on the duvet of earlier releases.

But whereas the subject material has taken a deeper flip, the music remains to be polished Porn Crumpets, unabashed psychedelic garage-rock enjoyable with a variety setting it other than earlier releases – and McEwan thinks it’s the group’s finest work but.

Gone is the SingStar microphone used to report the band’s first three albums. The majority of the album was recorded at McEwan’s house studio, and the main focus was on forming higher habits and manufacturing methods.

“I think as we grow as musicians and producers … there’s still a way that it’s going forward, and we’re still managing to write music that I’m happy with,” McEwan says.

“Everything’s feeling like it’s different and new, and it’s exciting.”


Perhaps a part of that development could possibly be attributed to the routine the pandemic compelled on McEwan and the band. With little extra to do than work in his studio each day, the frontman discovered himself with a way of focus and sitting on a wealth of fabric.

“I think that was the first sort of period of time where other than uni … I actually focused on writing and I had one thing on mind,” he says.

“I had a routine for the first time … waking up, having something to do, turning on the monitors, start recording, it was lovely – I even had time to plan a holiday.”

The capacity to take the album on the highway is a welcome return to normality, although.

With the discharge of Night Gnomes comes one other slew of Australian dates in June and July – together with a gig at The Rechabite in Perth – earlier than the band units off for the UK and Europe, then on to the US, a tour which is able to maintain them in a foreign country till November.

And if the Porn Crumpets’ deeper flip isn’t “your cup of moonshine”, McEwan says, “then at least you know the sixth album will be upbeat as f—.”

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