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First Play: Walrus, Family Hangover

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Andrea Gin

Family Hangover, the debut full-length from Halifax’s Walrus, feels both modern and vintage at the same time. From the opening groove of “Later Days” to the languid jam “What Goes On,” the band takes us on a 10-song journey of '60s psych-rock and studio experimentation, alternating between the members' influences both past and present.

Vocalist/guitarist Justin Murphy acknowledges his band’s classic rock influences, but he also encourages listeners to look for more.

“I do love a lot of bands from that era,” he explains via email. “The Beatles are my favourite band for sure, but I think the album is more than just a '60s throwback psych album or something like that. I definitely feel there is a lot more going on, but I don't mind the comparison.”

The band played its first show in Montreal in 2012, starting small with Murphy on guitar, his brother Jordan Murphy playing drums and Justin McGrath doing electronics.

“Walrus more or less started from these demo songs I was recording four or five years ago,” he says. “I had these poorly recorded bedroom songs that I took to my brother and he added electronic drums to it and it really sounded quite different than it does now.”

Over the next few years, the band added and dropped other players, and released two EPs: 2014’s Glam Returns and 2016’s Goodbye Something.

This week, they are finally ready to release their debut album. Family Hangover was recorded by Charles Austin (the Super Friendz) at Halifax's Echo Chamber, and will be released by Dan Mangan’s Madic Records. The first single released from the album was the song “Regular Face,” which was accompanied by a Bob Ross-inspired video for the track.

You can listen to Family Hangover right here a week ahead of its release date on June 9. Pre-order it here and check the band's summer tour dates here.