Review Summary: It's ok to relax.
If there’s one thing King Gizzard & the Wizard Lizard have had trouble doing recently, it’s finding time to take a break. The band’s been on overdrive, seemingly content to churn out wild acid rock tunes until the end of time. Their previous album Murder of the Universe
seemed to capitalize on that wildness, as they drove their music to even noisier heights. So it was a surprise when the band announced their next album was going to be a collaboration with Mild High Club, whose dreamy psych pop seemed incongruous to the direction King Gizzard was pushing their music. Sketches
abandons the cacophonous atmosphere of their previous album in pursuit of a smoother, jazzier approach.
The sounds of Mild High Club and King Gizzard weave together seamlessly. There’s a greater focus on instrumentation compared to their recent albums, as they mix a wide variety of instruments with colorful synths and grooving basslines. The textures of this album constantly shapeshift: flute solos, wah-wah guitars, and car alarm samples are all incorporated with ease. From the blissful bounciness of “Countdown” to the howls of “A Journey to (S)hell”, the bands pack their ceaseless creativity and experimentation into a delightfully smooth experience.
looked to impress the audience with its apocalyptic insanity, here the band reminisces on their past. “Dusk to Dawn on Lygon Street” provides a bird’s eye view of life in their neighborhood, “The Spider and Me” finds Stu Mackenzie recalling the time he relaxed with a Huntsman spider, and “You Can Be Your Silhouette” urges people to forget the darkness for a spell. They’re chasing the simpler times; those nostalgic, acid-tripping days of yore. After the chaos of their last album, who could blame them for wanting a milder high?