FOR third album And Now For The Whatchamacallit, Perth’s Psychedelic Porn Crumpets wanted to create an immersive, carnival-esque vibe.

But there’s a purpose to the band’s technicolour madness, frontman and vocalist Jack McEwan says.

“I wanted to keep an innocent, playful, childish theme running through the record that makes the listener forget about their world and escape back into playful infinite wondering,” he explains.

Here are Jack’s notes on the album’s 10 intricate and colourful tracks.

‘Kick Ons’

A classic late-’60s tilt of the hat to all things jangly. I wanted the album to start kinda simple and easy to understand. ‘Kick Ons’ is an introductory piece that doesn’t swallow the listener but intrigues them to find out where it’s all leading. The original concept of the album was to go through a linear timeline of music, but then I felt a bit under researched to predict what music will become, so I changed it to a 1940s carnival that’s on display in a museum a few decades from now. A strange futuristic interpretation of old village life that uses moments of nostalgia and playful components to build into something new; a collection of warm sounds that collectively form the Porn Crumpets song circus.

‘Bills Mandolin’

The music for this track was forged together from two or three different songs I was working on before our first Europe tour. Most of the album had a bunch of variations but ‘Bills’ went through quite a few. It was always on my mind how to change it, and then when I was in the UK I was given my granddad’s old mandolin. We journeyed ’round Europe together in the van traveling from gig to pub, to castle to drunken ditch. We’d had such an adventure I felt like it needed to be on the album and when I got back to Australia I reworked ‘Bills’ into this locomotive chugger of a tune, fun and not that serious, it felt like the trip.

‘Hymn For a Droid’

This is one of the rare occasions I’ve managed to hum a riff in the shower and record it pretty much identical to how it was envisioned. Most times a song will change a lot from its original riff and turn into something completely different, but I really like how ‘HFAD’ booms in from the start and then hooks in with probably my favourite chorus I’ve ever written. It felt finished from day one. The lyrics are about me and Luke going through a similar type of relationship while being away a lot. Being in a touring band is pretty brutal if you’re in a long-term relationship. Things seem to change pretty quick unfortunately, but at least your friends will always be happy you’re back taking drugs with them.

‘Fields, Woods, Time’

This is one of my favourite tracks on the record. It’s the door to the next phase of the album. I wanted a nice thinking piece that builds and explodes within a minute, taking the listener deeper into the Whatchamacallit.

‘Native Tongue’

This tune came really late on when I was writing. I instantly resonated with it and had so many instrument ideas and parts that I didn’t want to get rid of, so I panned bits in and out and played more in flutters to add to this beautiful chaotic swirling drone. I wanted it to feel like magic, kinda like a lot of The Avalanches tracks. They capture that young nostalgic joy of chasing lady bugs round the garden and I wanted to try emulate that same emotion, like a happy memory.

 

"He’s ridiculously good, so playing 4/4 straight rock grooves was like a butter sandwich. I wanted to try ruin his brain a bit."

‘Social Candy’

This is my favourite track to play live from the album. The breakdown keeps getting wilder and more sporadic, constantly climbing. The track is about getting absolutely smeagled at a party and trying to take control of your brain again. It pretty much sums up mine and Luke’s time of living together at Chipping Road. There were always people over, no real anchor of reality so you just get swept up in individual moments. It’s a pretty nice way to live but, yeah, you’ll lose a few brain cells and after a year or two need that time to chill and reflect and write.

‘My Friend’s A Liquid’

I’ve never had as much fun recording a track as I did with ‘Liquid’. The idea of the album burst out of this song. I just remember feeling so hyped after, like the last day of school before the summer holidays knowing there’s adventures to be had. I found an old documentary on my village home in England, Aspley Guise, during the war. All the kids were laughing ’round a Punch and Judy show and having so much fun completely unaware of the horrors that were surrounding them. I kinda thought music is a bit like that, you escape from the world and remain blissful even when life feels like a washing machine. So I wanted to keep an innocent, playful, childish theme running through the record that makes the listener forget about their world and escape back into playful infinite wondering.

‘When In Rome’

This was one of the first songs I wrote for the record before the idea sprouted further. I was going to save it for another record but after showing a few people they convinced me to keep it on ANFTW. It’s a big transition from ‘Liquid’ but a good album needs fluctuations. I think it has more impact when it comes out of nowhere. I was listening to so much Sleep at the start of writing and then by the end I was cranking Queen, The Kinks, ELO, really overly flamboyant songs. I thought, “Why try and fight that?” and just rolled with all the influences and wrote and recorded over 50 tracks, most of which are too strange to share as I’m terrified I’ll be laughed at. ‘When In Rome’ felt the heaviest track on one side of the spectrum so I had to include it. I felt the extremities would reveal more. You soon end up with an album that’s brimmed with variety which I prefer over one continuous idea.

‘Digital Hunger’

I wrote this song on the last day of recording drums with Danny. I remember seeing him going into the studio and I felt like I was under utilising him. He’s ridiculously good, so playing 4/4 straight rock grooves was like a butter sandwich. I wanted to try ruin his brain a bit. I came up with my version of some futuristic sci-fi jazz tune and you could see everyone get a bit more excited. Danny nailed it in two takes and I think the version we left on the record is actually the entire take without edits. It was never really meant to go on the record but I think it gives it more personality having quirky mannerisms like ‘Digital Hunger’. As soon as you think you get the vibe it changes which I like, and it transitions so perfectly with the next track ‘Dezi’s’ that it’s a winner for me.

‘Dezi’s Adventure’

My favourite track from the album. Dezi’s had about 15 different variations until I settled on a final version. It started off as a drum and bass track, then I started messing around with guitar pitches and transposing bits and bobs to sound like an organ. Then one day it clicked to change styles and make it more of an evolving adventure. I wanted it to keep progressing and grow with each transition. Dezi is a bit of me now and part who I was growing up. A wide eyed, intrigued, often scared individual who saw the world as a bit of a playground. I liked how the album sounds a like a fun fair so I wanted the last track to sound like a close out of the circus performance.

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