[Album Review] Walrus- Family Hangover
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

Release Date: June 9th, 2017
Label: Madic Records
This is Walrus’s first full-length album and yet the band has already progressed in its sound. It’s certainly not fair to say their previous releases (on EPs) were a pastiche of ‘60s garage/psych, but those influences were worn on their sleeve and undeniable. With ‘Family Hangover’ these become mere touchstones, as Walrus uses them as a starting off point in developing a sound that is truly their own.

Perhaps it’s the electronics and other “experimental” leanings, although those elements were always present. The synth and drum machine work at the beginning of “Free Again”, as an example, is exciting, urban and very contemporary, even though the song eventually gets into a more hippie sunshine place. But even at this stage it sounds more like Sgt. Pepper for the new millennium — taking those Beatlesque phrasings, those granny-glasses/pot-head strains, and repackaging in a form of Walrus’s own design.

And it’s not as if they have to drastically veer away from the garage/psych head space in order to place their stamp on the music. “Glam” has that late ‘60s sound that one associates with the likes of Traffic — its heart in psychedelia, but the head getting serious with jazz-tinged country-rock sounds. Not completely unfamiliar, but a relatively fresh approach these days. Similarly, “Family Hangover” mines that tradition of solid, post-British Invasion pop, particularly with bands like The Kinks, and yet the way it uses synths as emotional emphasis is quite distinctive.

Walrus have the bravery to release an album that does not lazily rely on the sounds they’ve created in the past. Right from their debut full-length they demonstrate their willingness to explore and progress. Bodes well for this band’s future.