Review Summary: Time to meet your end.
So here's another King Gizzard album. It's been less than twelve months since their last, Nonagon Infinity
, which, whilst consolidating Gizz's fuzz and nostalgics around focused and highly melodic songwriting, did little else to differentiate itself stylistically from the abundance of other King Gizzard albums available. The repetitive rhythms, the fuzzy production values, and the barely-there occultist themes that prove necessary for any garage rock revivalist: surely well done, but familiar all the same. Though they are revivalists, the band seem aware of how stagnant they can sound, especially if they are to stick to the age-old and perfected method of guitars and 4/4 time signatures. As such, Flying Microtonal Banana
attempts a broad shift into weirder rhythms, more varied song structures, and a pallet of '70s rock that extend beyond krautrock and the regular King Gizzard pallet and into the fraught territory of world music. Predictably, it still sounds sorta, kinda, exactly like a King Gizzard album.
Of course, the influence of world music is in the loosest sense; there's nary a hint of Moroccan, Balearic, or anything too
out of left-field (and truly, the Can influence is enough to constitute some European influence, however hackneyed.) But, in keeping with variation, these songs move to a distinctly different beat, shuffling instead of marching, bopping instead of stomping, whilst still rocking all the same. The only song that could obviously be attributed to the band's older format is opener "Rattlesnake," a 7-minute adventure of riffing, poison, and the incessant eponymous refrain that proves an already worthy live highlight. Otherwise, the music carefully embraces Turkish rhythms and other microtonal methods of composition not apparent on other King Gizzard albums. "Melting" and "Open Water" are the most successful attempts of songwriting in this tradition, reorienting the band's hypnotic qualities towards unfamiliar grooves whilst retaining the general ruckus of overdriven guitars and supernatural thematics. Gizz's strength however is obviously in their concise and functional riff-oriented songs, so it's not as if they are an obvious cut above the fray. There's clearer attempts at the new format- barely there "Billabong Valley," subdued "Nuclear Fusion"- but King Gizzard are still best when jamming on a schlocky, fuzzed out rhythm. Yes, Flying Microtonal Banana
is essentially the same King Gizzard album from last year, updated for the sake of its own consequence. But it's also better than most other albums of its sort, specifically because King Gizzard appear able to coherently piece together a fun anthem with a sense of musical direction. Those probably aren't great standards, but when so many others seem to do nothing but rewrite the classics, the one song Gizz do have is both malleable and completely entertaining. Anatolian rhythms be damned.