Their upcoming release, Gross Encounters, has some fairly strange underlying themes.
Melbourne’s own The Murderballs have finally, in their words, grown up enough that they were able to sit still long enough to bring us Gross Encounters.
It’s only taken ten years to release their debut album; the band, bassist Kenny Agis, drummer Lenny Young, and vocalist and guitarist Jesse Wise, were having too much fun causing a riot with their own spin on punk and funk.
With their eccentric melodies and rabid rhythms, not to mention their awesome cartoon album artwork, it’s been an LP well worth waiting for.
The album artwork is particularly noteworthy in all its zaniness – a specially curated piece that reflects the narrative heard in Gross Encounters. “Our songs are wacky and a bit bizarre,” says Young. “The subject matter and the way [the album cover] is drawn, has a weirdness of it all that goes nicely with the imagery of UFOs.
“I feel like the strange really works with our music.”
When Young says “weird and wacky”, it’s not just the perfect way to describe their music, but the perfect way to describe the antics and characters of the band – a fact which brings out raucous laughter from the trio at its mention. “I like to think of myself as cartoon character.”
Of course, none of The Murderballs are able to say which cartoon character they’d be best mates with if they could, because they’d simply be mates with the drawn out versions of each other – their unique sense of humour yet another endearing and fun quality.
Together, laughing and playing for ten years, a stream of EPs and singles under their belts and yet now is the time they felt ready to focus on an album. “We’ve played together since we were kids and all lived in Belgrave,” says Young. “It started pretty innocently back then and then it was just a situation of each of us not being on the same wavelength.”
“I think it also comes down to the fact that The Murderballs are a live band, probably always will be,” adds Wise. “It’s the thing we get the most enjoyment out of. Recording is something we decided to do later on but for us, the best part of the band is being in shows and playing for people.”
“And that was even why our early recordings, we didn’t tend to get into multitrack stuff,” says Young, “because even other people’s feedback was that it didn’t have the same feel when we played it live.
“I think it got to a point where I honestly think we grew up a bit, got a bit more mature, more organised, and enjoyed the sound we were making at the time and decided to make an album.”
With their album launch show around the corner, The Murderballs are keen as ever to have some fun when they hit the stage alongside DevilMonkey, Steakfaced, Protospasm and I am Duckeye.
Making sure to not only add long-time friends to the bill, the three-piece have also tracked down bands equally as fun and raucous as them for the big occasion.
“I feel like all the bands we’ve got on are similar enough but also quite different,” says Agis. “There’s a definite party vibe with all the bands – they all play with a lot of groove but also do the punk stuff.”
“It’s also a thing, I guess, where The Murderballs at gigs are the black sheep of the night,” says Wise. “So I guess in some ways, a lot of the bands we’re playing with at the launch, they think outside the box, and we like that.”
The Murderballs come to The Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar on Friday May 10, the same day their debut album, Gross Encounters, is released. Tickets on the door.