Melbourne’s The Murlocs have announced their brand new studio album, Calm Ya Farm, due out May 19 on ATO Records. Following their 2022 garage-psych opus Rapscallion, the band initially set out with a vision of creating a quintessential country-rock record: inspired by iconic albums like The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo as well as the hazier edges of the mid-’70s British pub-rock scene. Spiked with The Murlocs’ signature breed of sharply crafted garage-punk—and with lead vocalist, guitarist & harmonica triple threat Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s surrealist musings on the ever-turbulent world around him—the new collection ultimately twists country-rock convention into a free-flowing album fully in touch with the frenetic energy of modern life.
Recorded in their home studios and mixed by repeat collaborator John Lee, Calm Ya Farm brings that sun-drenched sound to tracks like lead single “Initiative”: a sweetly raucous anthem for growing up without completely shaking off your reckless side. Released alongside an official video, Kenny-Smith explains, “It’s about recognizing the need to start taking responsibility for your life instead of always living in the now and killing all your brain cells along the way. Not everyone wants the big family and the big house with the white picket fence. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes you need to take things more seriously and make a few power moves in life to find out what comes next in the crystal ball.”
As the band’s most collaborative work to date, Calm Ya Farm unfolds in more elaborate and sophisticated arrangements and achieves new sonic depths largely by creating space for all five members to pursue their most eccentric impulses. “With this record we tried to steer away from all the distortion and dirt and grit, or at least let the grit come off a bit more clean-sounding,” says Kenny-Smith, who, in addition to guitarist Callum Shortal (Orb and Tim is in Crepes), drummer Matt Blach (Beans) and keyboardist Tim Karmouche, also plays with bassist Cook Craig (Pipe-Eye) in the globally beloved psych-rock powerhouse King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Over the course of its 12 wildly catchy tracks, Calm Ya Farm touches on everything from the vicious tone of political discourse to the brain-addling effect of conspiracy theories, adorned with such unexpected flourishes as lush flute melodies, potent flamenco-guitar riffs, and dreamlike Farfisa tones.
While Calm Ya Farm contains plenty of frenzied tension, the album quickly reveals its power to ease the listener into a more serene state of mind. This is fitting for the album’s title which Kenny-Smith explains is “something my partner always says to me when I’m feeling stressed-out or anxious. It made sense with the whole country theme of the record, but it’s generally a good reminder for day-to-day life. Now whenever I look down, I can remember to just chill out and take everything a little easier.”