Halifax garage-psych quartet Walrus announce new album
29 August 2019
'Cool To Who' Out October 18
Watch the video for the same titled single below
The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based garage-psych quartet, Walrus, are set to release their new album, Cool to Whovia Outside Music on October 18, 2019. The new album, which was recorded over two sleep-deprived days at the Old Confidence Lodge - an 18th century old theatre in Riverport, Nova Scotia - follows-up the 2017 debut, Family Hangover which earned North American acclaim at the likes of Consequence of Sound and Stereogum. Watch the video for the album-titled single here
Formed in 2012 by two brothers, Justin (vocalist and guitarist) and Jordan (drummer) Murphy, alongside two friends in Truro, Nova Scotia, the band cut their teeth in music via the traditional route of heavy touring. Intense bouts of gigging saw the quartet earn a reputation, not only for their frantic live shows but also for the way the treat the process - on one occasion managing to get banned from Avis Rental Car. Rental companies offer unlimited mileage on a vehicle for families renting a minivan to go to their cabin, Disney World or a family reunion. They don’t anticipate customers to rack up 18,000km in less than three weeks touring as band around the entire stretch of the continent.
The process of conveying live energy to record can always prove to be an achilles heel to artists, and with Walrus, as a crucial piece to their encompassing musical jigsaw, it was essential it could be implemented when there’s no audience energy to feedback to the band. To recreate that live environment, the quartet found the biggest live space they could in Riverport, Nova Scotia at the Old Confidence Lodge, an 18th century old theatre on the banks of the LaHave River; “Originally we had just planned on trying out OCL for a couple of days to see if we liked it, but ended up just banging out the whole record that weekend,” says Jordan. “The main room there is enormous so we were able to have the whole band setup to play at once - being able to play along with everyone definitely gave it that live sound.”
The resulting album - buoyed further by the lack of sleep, somewhat synonymous with a heavy-touring project - is Cool to Who, a lysergic journey through 60s-tinged psychedelia, 70’s folk and a garage-rock sensibility that courses through the skeleton of the 10-track record. Opener, ‘Breathe’, a song written of the relief Justin felt following his dropping-out of university, oozes with quavering intimacy whereas lead single ‘Cool to Who’ demonstrates the group’s knack for an infectious sense of melody and penchant for a chorus.
Justin’s vocals swim through pools of reverb-laden psychedelia, tipping hat to the likes of Kevin Parker and Revolver-era Lennon perhaps evidenced best on the album’s centre-piece, ‘Mr Insecure’, a track that circles around themes of social anxiety. ‘Half Smoke’ mines the band’s garage rock’n’roll sensibility leaving a sonic landscape the rubs shoulders with the likes of the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Ty Segall whilst ‘Out For A While’ changes gear once more, turning cheek this time to a woozy, drunken lounge affair, once again proving Cool to Who to be an album born of various influences, hard to pin to a sole genre and all the more rewarding for it. A particular highlight nestles towards the album’s close in the form of ‘Ballad Of Love (Or Something)’, a song described by Justin with a tongue wedged firmly in-cheek as being “Oasis in their prime.”
“I don’t think we have a specific classification or term of what we do,” explains Justin. “We’re not trying to sound like one specific thing and aren’t trying to pretend we’re a jazz band or something either, so I suppose we sound like ourselves, a maturing version of what we have always been.”
Walrus, have been the recipients of some great tutelage. They were signed to Dan Mangan’s Madic Records for their first album which garnered them some immediate attention and most recently, they came off the road from supporting The Sadies on a North American tour. The band have a run of Canadian festival dates throughout summer 2019 with plans to bring Cool to Who to UK shores later in 2019, dates to be announced shortly.
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