Review Summary: The psych/garage-rock outfit have perfected their craft, establishing their magnum opus, as well as one of the most thrilling front-to-back experiences that the subgenre has to offer.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: yeah, they actually named themselves that--and yeah, they're, somewhat surprisingly, really
good. The Australian psych/garage-rock seven-piece are certainly not without their peers--they're among a fleet of bands like Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segal that have fronted a full-fledged revival of the subgenre over the past decade--but their latest offering displays them stepping away from the pack and into a thrilling new realm of their own. On Nonagon Infinity
, they've managed to hone in their sound by striking a perfect balance between immediacy and experimentation within the context of psych/garage: the piss-drunk punk at your local basement show, and the academic-type stroking their chin in the confines of their lonely apartment, are both going to have a damn good time with it.
As it eagerly bursts forth from the floodgates of the album's first moments, the unrelenting energy that permeates its run-time is immediately revealed--as well as just how inviting it sounds. They're absolutely a loud, noisy band, but cacophony and sonic-experimentation are not in their modus operandi here. Instead, the focus is on energy
: the riffs are blistering, the hooks are joyously catchy, and the drums are busy and ceaseless. It's music with the capacity to satisfy even the shortest of attention-spans. What makes Nonagon Infinity
noteworthy however, is that it blends this accessibility with smatterings of welcome experimentation--unorthodox melodies, odd time-signatures, and unconventional song-structures are frequently injected throughout--imbuing the band's ear-catching, head-banging tendencies with depth and intricacy. And importantly, they're able to integrate these convolutions subtly, not in such a way that might in any way detract from the air-tight cohesion this thing possesses. In fact, if you're not listening closely, their consistent toying with psych/garage conventions could soar above your oblivious, gleeful head. The result of this dichotomous union is enthralling, and lends itself well to attentive, as well as cursory listens.
It's worth noting that throughout the 9 tracks (spread over 42 minutes) of this record, King Gizzard take no more than few brief moments for breaths, and even then it's to give an instrument prominence or launch the band in a new direction. This includes the transitions from song to song, as each one segues seamlessly into the next--suggesting that rather than individual songs, these are actually meta-movements that make up one massive piece. What's more, there's a number of reoccurring motifs the band return to throughout the album, further strengthening the coalition of tracks here. And as if that wasn't enough, try enabling the "repeat album" feature on your device: you'll find that the last moment of the record transitions perfectly into the first; the aptly-titled album can be looped ad-infinitum, without interruption.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's ability to haul you from your barstool to the front-row of the crowd is also what may prove to be the Achilles' heel for some, upon close inspection of certain movements. Sprinkled throughout, there are undeniably moments wherein riffs or hooks can overstay their welcome and grow stale. Thankfully they aren't prevalent though, and the amount of unexpected detours that the band takes is generally able to compensate for these shortcomings. Another complaint is that the record definitely lacks in terms of vision and scope--it never really transcends itself, sonically or lyrically--but it could be just as convincingly argued that they're a band that understand the purpose and limits of their niche: it's music purely for the sake of unbridled enjoyment. And that
, they most certainly provide.