King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
Polygondwanaland


4.5
superb

Review

by Haygoody USER (10 Reviews)
November 18th, 2017 | 145 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I want to see the world differently"

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s music is, in short, incredibly outlandish. The Australian psychedelic-rock group, under the direction of Stu Mackenzie, prides themselves in crafting extravagant albums that explore the strangest dimensions of the universe. In this year alone, the group has released four distinctly different projects, with Polygondwanaland being the most recent. But despite this unusually high output of music, this latest release displays Gizzard’s most thought-provoking themes, alongside an immaculate level of oddball instrumentation.

I have a suspicion that Gizzard’s albums are more to them than mere music. Instead, the group seems to build their existence around densely constructed world’s which in turn, inspire whatever type of music materializes from within. The band’s constant use of polyrhythmic structures and unconventional instrumentation such as flutes and modulated keyboards appear as elemental pieces of these fabricated worlds. It’s an odd notion, but King Gizzard’s musical existence is in no way one of convention.

Polygondwanaland leads listeners to envision its narrator’s quest to find an elusive supercontinent in which man has never ventured. The album commences with the demise of mankind’s influence over nature as it’s structures are sent into the sea in the epic “Crumbling Castle.” The track spans ten minutes and details the uncertain fate of a group of observers within a citadel who are preparing for the end-times at the hand of a rising ocean. As the castle crumbles in this great destruction, what is left behind is this natural world of Polygondwanaland. In the whimsical, freely flowing title-track, the group lays out their intention to explore this land with “We’re gonna get there, / follow where the river runs.” A melodic acoustic guitar solo with a shimmering flute to accompany it leads seamlessly into the next song “The Castle in The Air.” The track enters with a female voice narrating:

The river opened her mouth and spat into a vast sea larger and bluer than a cloudless sky. Muscular, prodigious, immortal. But our vessel was invulnerable. It was well built, the boat rocked me into sleep and I floated through a deep dream, smooth sailing through the castle in the air.”

Songs like “Castle in The Air” are prime examples of King Gizzard’s illustrative storytelling abilities. The group has an innate craft in depicting an immersive world that draws listeners in with the grace of a skilled fantasy author. By drawing heavily from 70s progressive rock legends like Rush, King Crimson, and Yes, Gizzard brings an air of nostalgia to their works that resonates deeply with fans of that era.

The thematic highlight of Polygondwanaland announces itself in the album’s final suite of songs, that begins with “Tetrachromacy.” The idea of Tetrachromacy is described in the song as “…the inverse of colorblindness,” in which a gifted individual would have the ability to sense a fourth unknown color in addition to the blends of three that typical humans can observe. The narrator’s “lust to see the invisible,” allows him to transcend into a god-like being on the album's epic closing track, “The Fourth Color.” As the narrator discovers his true power, the song swells into a climatic finish of unhinged drums and overdriven guitar leads.

Yes, I know that music detailing ascension into a god by being able to perceive unknown colors sounds certifiably insane, and I wouldn’t argue with you. However, it’s somewhere in the creative space between absurdity and musical ingenuity that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard occupies, and if this insanity allows for the conception of hilariously fantastical albums like “Polygondwanaland”, then maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.



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user ratings (174)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
CompostCompote (3)
A great album ……………………………....................Psych!!...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Friday13th
November 18th 2017


6164 Comments


Cool. I've been interested in this band after hearing Flying Microtonal Banana uses microtones. Do you know if they still do that here?

Digging: George Russell - Ezz-thetics

Toad
November 18th 2017


1527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this one's quite good.

Digging: GFOTY - GFOTYBUCKS

Frivolous
November 18th 2017


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ye is p alright

Digging: Angles 9 - Disappeared Behind the Sun

Haygoody
November 18th 2017


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Friday13th They don't use microtones on this one to my knowledge. The thing about Gizzard is that they more or less alter their sound every album, so its kind of sucky if there's something particular that you enjoy on a previous album.

Papa Universe
November 18th 2017


8787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Crumbling Castle was easily one of their all time best songs, listening to the album right now, seems much more consistent than pretty much anything else this year. Might turn out to be my favourite.



"I have a suspicion that Gizzard’s albums are more to them than mere music."

Yes, definitely. It's almost like a world they're creating, with each album being a new chapter and more so, a musical challenge to see just what experimental madness they'll be able to conceive. It's not just music, it's a test to their abilities and creativity. Basically Henry Darger's Vivian Girls of music.

Digging: Gattopardo - Gattopardo

Papa Universe
November 18th 2017


8787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I like the fact that they call back to their previous albums on nearly each track. But in spite of that, those additions tend to be out of place.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2017


5977 Comments


heard through the grapevine some fuckface named Compost has a review in the barrel for this one..

Papa Universe
November 18th 2017


8787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

oh no.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2017


5977 Comments


this band does have one thing going for it - they have had the most amount of albums not on my best-of list in a single year..

Chortles
November 18th 2017


20895 Comments


do they have a 5th one in em???

Frivolous
November 18th 2017


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

king gizzard christmas album when

Papa Universe
November 18th 2017


8787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

they did announce these quite vaguely. so we might get it either in december or in january

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2017


5977 Comments


fingers crossed.. seizure..

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2017


5977 Comments


pos for the review though.. great job!

Friday13th
November 18th 2017


6164 Comments


@Haygoody Got ya. I'm sure I'd still enjoy some good prog psych rock per usual, but I've specifically tried to find bands that use microtones beyond occasional novelty.

zaruyache
November 18th 2017


18093 Comments


another one?

TheBarber
November 18th 2017


3602 Comments


This has been one of the most exciting adventures in music for me this year. Will be kinda sad when it ends

Digging: Wanderwelle - Lost in a Sea of Trees

parksungjoon
November 18th 2017


5507 Comments


FOUR FUCKING ALBUMS THIS YEAR?!

god fucking damn it

banana was dope though guess i gotta track all of em

schoonda
November 18th 2017


955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this and banana are probably the two best from this year. MOTU was a continuation of Nonagon's sound but I think there was a bit too much spoken word passages, which wore thin quickly

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains

Gleam
November 18th 2017


429 Comments


wait these dudes have yet another fucking album out


what is this, a see-how-many-jams-disguised-as-records-we-can-shit-per-year contest?



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