Review Summary: "the absolute mad lads"
So apparently King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released yet more
music last November whilst us lot at sputnikmusic.com contrib/staff HQ
were, I assume, still preoccupied with the band’s last 15(!
) projects, such that we may have slightly forgotten to publish some pretty words about it (oops…
). Fear not! Here are some words -- let their prettiness remain doubtful.
, the spiritual successor to 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana
, is a welcome trip back into the hazy realm of psych-rock that put Stu and co. on the map, with some added microtonal funny-business blended back into the fuzz for good measure. Retreating from their recent excursions into thrash a la Infest the Rats' Nest
and blues a la Fishing for Fishies
, Gizzard’s 16th LP feels far more familiar, slotting more nearly into their relentlessly growing discography than anything since Nonagon Infinity
. Chuggy, cheery cuts such as “Automation” and “Oddlife” likely wouldn't have felt out of place on I’m in Your Mind Fuzz
, nor would the blissed-the-fuck-out “Straws In The Wind” or “Honey” have stuck out on Quarters
, but for the tracks’ reincorporation of microtonality into their sound. As trippy, drippy grooves slip and slide over one another in a tie dye wash of purple and orange, K.G.
feels like a tentative return to home-base following the Aussie lads’ drive to innovate and obfuscate over the last 3 years, representing a respectful nod to their long-term fans who have stuck with them along their journey.
Regarding the aforementioned funny-business
, Volume 2 of the ongoing Explorations into Microtonal Tuning
series feels less like a mere proof of concept than Volume 1 did, forming a more realised and cohesive creative vision. As captivating as tunes like “Rattlesnake” were, Flying Microtonal Banana
as a whole felt like an exercise in exploration, the band playing around with a new shiny thing and trying not to make too much of a mess. On K.G.
, by contrast, the integration of microtonality is seamless, acting as just another tool in KGLW’s now overflowing toolkit. The step away from the familiar that it facilitates elevates the lads latest outing, driving on the obscure, rhythmic energy of “Ontology'' whilst softening the already putty-like “Minimum Brain Size”. It adds to rather than detracts from the staple Gizzverse goodness splattered across K.G.
, an elusive example, perhaps, of restraint being applied to their ordinarily uninhibited approach to songcraft with great effect.
Inevitably, this facade of restraint doesn't last, and, to be honest, I wouldn't have had it any other way. However, it’s not its reliance on atypical tuning that launches K.G.
completely off the rails, but the way it dives without warning into mismatched musical genres with inexplicable ease. “Intrasport” is, erm
, a microtonal electronic funk jam that somehow gels with the psych-rock bangers that it sits beside, and then there’s “The Hungry Wolf of Fate” which - yes, you guessed it - tiptoes its way in the direction of doom metal (of course, naturally
). For a project as overtly obtuse as K.G.
sounds on paper - anyone up for some microtonal-psych-rock-funk-metal? hello? guys? guys?!
- you’d think it would be less immediately listable than it is, but no; instead, K.G.
grabs you by your ear flaps with two meaty hands and refuses to let go, swinging you around your living room like a Scotsman practicing his hammer throw. Perhaps it’s the way that the songs all neatly knit together that makes K.G.
so replayable - each transitioning into the other, with the closer almost
looping back into the opener Nonagon Infinity
style - or simply the fact that Gizzard are getting better at channeling the disjointed hodgepodge of sounds that they’ve collected over the last decade into a compact, singular whole. I’m not sure but, to be honest, I don’t really care. Whatever the cause, K.G.
is the most well-rounded and tightly-crafted creative endeavour that KGLW have put out in years and it remains a joy to listen to over and over and over again.
So apparently King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are rumoured to release yet more
microtonal nonsense with L.W.
(a.k.a. Vol.3) in the coming weeks, which no doubt we will also forget to talk about (please accept this premature oops
by way of compensation) - but I mean, really, what is there left to say? The psych-rock legends continue to release quality project after quality project with no end in sight, such that it’s easy to take for granted just how absurd the continued rate and quality of their output really is. There’s no silly gimmick that really sets K.G.
apart, the lads simply chugging along as usual - perhaps explaining the relative lack of attention that their latest release has received - yet it's precisely this lack of gimmickry that makes K.G.
worth celebrating. It’s the careful distillation of everything that makes the goofy, zanzibar-gem-loving bois worth raving about; a blissful 40-minute joyride that should not be skipped by anyone with even a cursory interest in the Gizzverse. There may be nothing left to say, but that doesn't mean it should go unsaid.