Murry expands on the harrowing journey that he first chronicled on 2013's The Graceless Age.
Murry's The Graceless Age was one of 2013's best albums, featuring songs that showed a consistent, literate vision. It was also a harrowing chronicle of Murry's substance abuse problems, written in the aftermath of near-death from heroin. Califorlornia continues in The Graceless Age's footsteps, although here Murry trades in some of the former album's clarity for a dense, claustrophobic feel. Based in California, Murry draws comparisons to Warren Zevon -- in fact, his cover of Zevon's "Genius" here is excellent -- but Murry's songs approach his home with a languor drawn straight from his Mississippi roots. On "Golden State", one of two songs co-written with Chuck Prophet, Murry sings, "California, my golden home / Klonopin and Adderall for everyone / Fuck getting it right / Just get it done / Some kinda cross-processed, Kodachrome, nightmare blues." On "Glass Slipper", he screams, "I don’t wanna live / I don’t wanna die, I don’t want to have to decide," but strangely, Califorlornia isn't a downer record. Angry or jaundiced, sure, but the album's combativeness acts as a vehicle for someone trying to communicate what he learned in the abyss. Califorlornia is an often unflinching record full of fight.