Review of 'Family Hangover' by Walrus:

Madic Records



Family Hangover

Halifax just keeps pumping out interesting indie these days it seems. For a first LP one would expect some bumps along the way but Walrus clearly had a field day when it came time to push this debut out. Blending a lot of influence into something truly original these Canadians are doing for psych rock what The Sheepdogs did for stomping classic rock.

On a sunny, psychedelic note, “Later Days” starts the album with a bright sense of wonder and fiery licks, with a very heavy mix of bass and drums to add to the entire heft of the track. From an extended intro the equally misty vocals create a mantra like chug forward that crafts a circular movement to the song that creates a sense of flow to the track. Taking notes Pond and Tame Impala among others, “In Timely Fashion” goes into an excessively retro and pop-infused push with lush guitars and synth to up the fun. Each chorus feels like a dive into the dark that gains even more mystery than the bursting verses.

“Family Hangover” goes into a slow-littered with Beatles influence and twisted riff-infused drops. Bringing it all together is the excited and surreal choruses that boom out with a fun sense of grandeur and all too moving bass. Taking funny studio notes and an extremely barebones approach to the sound, “So Far Gone” works surprisingly well in its one-effect-fits-all approach to sound. Thanks to a fun song the track works really well while if anything feeling like it could go even further.

Moving to more dynamic rhythms, “Step Outside” goes to desert tones in its guitars and rustic percussion, layering a retro-organ on for good measure. There’s a surprising amount of sonic depth here between the delightfully mingling melodies and a righteous technical proficiency that makes their vicious accelerations all the more powerful. “Regular Face” mixes melodic hook sounds of the 90s with a wash of heavy drums and an extremely dreamy float of vocals. The constant shift between fast and heavy and the slow sections intertwines well for a track that makes dynamics out of the energy and spirit they put into each section.

After a more electronically fuelled intro, “Free Again” thumps forward on simmering guitars and a trudging, methodical drum-line. In a trance-like thrust they craft a delicate balance of heavy and light that makes for a full sound that would do the many bands that inspired them proud. With a bass-line that would make Jefferson Airplane grin, “Tell Me” twists a handful of classic melodies and pushes them together for something that sounds exciting instead of derivative.

“Glam” shifts to a more prog-driven bass line, slowing things down for a more slow and grand classic rock-styled groove. Earning its title however the ripping choruses and the racing bridge soon explode into a flaming finale that tears through every ounce of amp and drum for one hell of an ending. Out of these ashes “What Goes On…” takes the sun down on a reflective note, without losing the great myriad of hooks that got them through the record. Taking vocal attitude especially hard on this track, it aches with the same fun and freedom of Foxygen, promising even more dynamic music from this band down the road.

Words By Owen Maxwell