Major Murphy – ‘Access’ album review

Major Murphy Access album review Winspear Records

Major Murphy, a four-piece from Grand Rapids, Michigan, are all set to release their second album ‘Access’ – a collection of nine songs that navigate the uncertainty of creative and artistic livelihoods while also trying to make sense of newfound parenthood.

Opening with the slackerpop hooks of the recently released title track, there’s an element of hope in Jacob Bullards’s words as he declares ‘Every single day there’s a world to be uncovered’. These tender tones float over the impactful drums as he goes on to ponder how ‘Nothing’s guaranteed. Everything is make believe’. This is followed by the bleeps, bloops and fuzzed-out guitar work – plus synthesised vocals – of ‘Attention’, a woozy yet melodic piece of space funk about wanting attention and having mutual feelings. ‘In the Meantime’ dips into a more melodic indie-pop sound with another powerful message – ‘We’ve go so far, we can’t turn back now’ – before ‘Unfazed’ shows a more reflective, Americana-tinged side to the band’s sound, complete with a classic rock guitar solo to finish.

‘Real’ is more of a meditative piece with instructions to ‘close your eyes’ and ‘breathe through your nose’ before the thunderous drums at the halfway point change its direction. This is followed by the nostalgic and romantic (‘Watching stars fall from the sky’; ‘It was how we spent our time’) Ben Kweller-esque ‘Rainbow’ with its acceptance that ‘Times are gonna change’. ‘Tear It Apart’ has observational humour running through – ‘You want a party here you might get laid’ – that cuts through the sadness while there are also plenty of food metaphors to feast on: ‘In my time, I’ve found that life’s no buffet. I got to go with my gut and see what comes my way’. The bass is at the forefront of the penultimate ‘Flower’ – an assertive piece that finds Jacob declaring his future plans with pride: ‘Every morning, every afternoon, I’ll be coming through’. This song also featuresa delightful touch of call-and-response vocals with the rest of the band replying in unison to Jacob’s plans.

The record finishes with ‘Blind’, a short piece of prog-pop that finds the band unwilling to switch off from the contant news cycle that affects us all. Once you’ve gained access to Major Murphy’s world, you won’t want to leave.

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