Melbourne multi-instrumentalist Liam McGorry a.k.a. Ex-Olympian has just released his debut album Afterlife, a world of dream funk that we can easily find ourselves getting lost in. The album is packed with nostalgic tracks like ‘Penny In The Well’ featuring Sam Lawrence, the jazzy artistry in ‘Lilac Youth’ featuring Nkechi Anele, and the debut of McGorry’s vocals in ‘Voices in My Head’.
To describe Afterlife as a whole is a task within itself. All the sounds McGorry has melded together are intrinsically unique but have been artfully worked together to in brilliant harmony as a body of work. We think McGorry has given the best possible description of the album itself while answering the question of what he would take with himself into the afterlife - quite beautifully, “connection”. The idea of connection can be found repeatedly throughout Afterlife, both in the methodical arrangement of tracks and their burgeoning lyrical content.
The instrumental openings ‘Javelin Flight (Intro)’ and ‘Netherworld Boogie’ set the stage for the distinctive taste which McGorry serves us. ‘Penny In The Well’ introduces us to the album-proper - with a nostalgic and upbeat fusion of funk that seems effortlessly paired with Sam Lawrence’s velvetly vocals. Its a bittersweet sound that you'd bop along to whilst contemplating growing apart from someone you once loved. With the lyrics ‘Of all the times we’ve had / The good go with the bad / I can finally say farewell to you’, the album pushes on its theme of growing, understanding, and growing some more, even if that means growing apart from someone.
‘Ripple in Time’ follows suit, a funky trumpet and snare layered beat that sings of remembering the times is the self-introduction to a McGorry we didn’t know we needed. Naming himself after the neon sign under ‘Borsari’s Corner’ in Melbourne. Reading ‘Ex-Olympic’ with a colourful cycler, McGorry embraces his namesake through reflection and moving forward to new strides no matter the gravitational upsets that arise.
‘Lilac Youth’ is reminsicent of the disco/jazz similar to that a Persona 5 soundtrack - Vintage, disco-infused and effortless - its the mark of an artist who is putting all he has into his sounds to make the production value skyrocket. Soulful 'Lilac Youth' has been co-written and sung by former Saskwatch bandmate Nkechi Anele, creating a fusion of nostalgia and funk. Another highlight ‘Brother’ featuring Jarrad Brown is a testament of how Afterlife is compelling in its idiosyncrasy yet perfectly harmonious as a body of work.
Our personal favourite from the album has to be ‘Voices in My Head’ – a brilliant debut of McGorry’s impressive vocal talents. His light dreamy voice pairs with clips from old shows and movies to create a coherence in memory and reminiscence. The track is a refreshing, funky, wobbly, daydreamy piece that we would happily get lost in.
The album has been a long time coming, written and recorded over three years with the aspiration that McGorry would be more involved with the ensembles and creation of the music. Afterlife is an ecclectic moon-soaked dream-funk wonderland that proves McGorry has olympian talents for studio exploration.