Album Review: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – ‘SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound’

All high, no comedown, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are back with a blistering new record with a suitably absurdist name. Where their 2019 cut left little time for breath, SHYGA’s moments of moderation provide welcome space for the band to flex beyond brain-melting riffs and Rebecca Hyde to delve into their prismatic abyss.


Australia’s collective of psych-rock bands has just gained another promising contender. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have modernized, energized, and mastered their hypnotic prog-rock craft on the new album, SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound. An impressively confident follow-up from their less assured previous album, SHYGA! is a solid competitor for the position of their top release. It has the speed and guitar-heavy energy of the first two albums that brought them to fame, High Visceral Parts 1 and 2, whilst tying in the more creative and fun-loving elements of their previous, And Now For The Whatchamacallit. For fans of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s more rock-influenced albums and those who always said, “Gee, I wish Tame Impala used more guitar”, SHYGA! is a confident psychedelic delight from start to finish.


The opening track, Big Dijon, is the closest the band will get to an orchestral opening. Stripped back, with close to flamenco-style guitar and a Phrygian feel to the harmonies, Big Dijon is a gorgeous opener to an album that soon devolves into the beautiful prog-rock chaos that is Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ key sound. Falling straight into the next track, Tally-Ho, a motif which can be first recognized from their single released in summer, Mr. Prism, is introduced, and comfortably sets voyage for the rest of the album.

‘The album could easily be a soundscape to a child’s fantastical dream, complete with flashing lights and lurid colours.’

The band’s desire to produce an album with the word “whatchamacallit” seems to have developed into a creative infection that has spread to their song-naming talents. On SHYGA! we see both the questionably named Hats Off To The Green Bins (seriously, what does this mean?) and the uncomfortably visual titled Pukebox. Whilst some may take this to be a particularly extensive form of pretentiousness, and rightfully so, it all combines to create the mystical psych-rock landscape that the band are now so confident in constructing. The Aussie locals are clearly comfortable with where their sound is now, and this confidence shows; SHYGA! is such a genuinely fun record and it really feels like the artists enjoyed creating it too. The album could easily be a soundscape to a child’s fantastical dream, complete with flashing lights and lurid colours.


The lyrics are also incredibly enjoyable to experience. With ample helpings of wit and irony, Mr. Prism is perhaps the best example of this – “Packed the bag to subdivide / my twenty-twenty dreams /It's wonderful how comfortable a lazy life can be” – as the band reflects on a somewhat questionable year which for many was filled with watching “the world resonate.” This 2020-themed contemplative motif continues elsewhere on The Terrors with lines like “the whole world’s back to basics.” In a time as disappointingly confusing yet continuous as we are experiencing now, we can thank Psychedelic Porn Crumpets for bringing a bit of fun to the modern music scene.

Mid-album cut, Pukebox is a masterpiece in melodic layering. The result of the build-up of a lead guitar melody following frontman Jack McEwan’s vocals note-for-note is an incredibly musically satisfying creation. At around the two-minute mark, the track opens up to a simple guitar lick that continues to the end, binding together layered vocals and backing guitar. This is a technique Crumpets introduced in their first album and is used frequently by other psychedelic rock artists, but its casual use on this track captures the lengths that the band has come, and their ability to master their sound.


Any song that successfully utilizes harmonica is always likely to be exemplary, but Mr. Prism uses it eloquently and sparingly; only to boost the punchy melody that feels energetic enough to power a small country. At the very moment you think the track is about to bounce back into energetic prog-rock, it takes a break and opens up to the hardest-hitting guitar lick of the album. Every small speed and time change is precisely thought out but feels near-effortless, particularly in the track’s final minute, in which the band showcases their strongest musical effort. The track was a fantastic return for the band in the Summer of 2020 and fits comfortably into the feel of the album.

‘This is an album that needs playing loud, with generous helpings of body odor, alcohol, and sticky venue floors.’

They debuted the song live in a small venue in Bunbury, Australia and somehow managed to have the stamina to keep up the time and rhythm changes throughout. This track promises to be a fan-favourite to be heard live when international touring can safely return. Other notable mentions from the album include Mundungus, which is arguably SHYGA!’s most punk-influenced song, and The Tale of Gurney Gridman. The latter being a two-part track that opens with a guitar lick close to melodic metal and closes with echoing, warming synth-pop that leaves the listener ample time to relax from the recent madness of the album – a come-up from the relentless adventure that was SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound.


The most conventionally rock-sounding tracks are likely Sawtooth Monkfish (it really feels like they are testing out potential band names with these tracks) and Tripolosaur. This doesn’t mean they don’t succeed, however – fitting perfectly with the punchy energy of the album despite lacking the individuality of songs like Mr. Prism or The Tale of Gurney Gridman. Having a few tracks that fit more closely within the conventions of the genre isn’t always a bad thing; although stretched by some rock bands to create filler tracks, Crumpets are above this, and instead, use slightly simpler tracks to provide the listener with a comfortable resting post before venturing into more genre-defying realms.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets show no sign of slowing down after this album. As they have done since their first LP in 2016, the band will continue to bounce from success to success whilst each time, pushing the boundaries of their melodic psych-rock a little further. Let’s pray to whoever can control the future of the Covid-19 pandemic that we can get back to gigs soon, as this is an album that needs playing loud, with generous helpings of body odor, alcohol, and sticky venue floors.


Written by: Rebecca Hyde

Edited by: Alex Duke


Featured and article image courtesy of Psychedelic Porn Crumpets via Facebook.