With album titles such as Flying Microtonal Banana and Nonagon Infinity, you get an idea of where King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are coming from. The fact that they are from Australia, heartland of psychedelia — albeit Melbourne, on the other side of the country from key Australian psych-rock bands such as Tame Impala and Pond — and the picture becomes even clearer. And then of course there is a further window into their make-up: the wacky band name.
This is their 16th studio album in their prolific decade-long career and it is a rich and complex affair, featuring what sounds like a vast and esoteric collection of vintage and classic guitars and keyboards and other instruments (what sounds like a mellotron pops up on “Straws in the Wind”). Time signatures are tricky, vocals are drifty and buried deep in the mix so that they sound a little muffled.
To begin with, on the opening tracks “K.G.L.W.” and “Automation”, they play a kind of folk-rock, with guitar melodies that are more memorable than the vocal lines. By the time we get to “Some of Us” we are deep in the realm of prog-rock, with angular Zappa-esque guitars; the roving bass guitar lines of “Honey” are reminiscent of early Jethro Tull. It’s clever and sharp but eventually all this wilful eccentricity begins to irk. A brief foray into the present day comes in the form of “Intrasport” with its contemporary-sounding dance rhythms.
Finally, and thrillingly, the album closes with “The Hungry Wolf of Fate”, which features a bruising, brilliant guitar riff that sounds as if it could kill at 100 paces. The song doesn’t have a time signature that looks like an improper fraction: it just has a deeply, satisfyingly, crushingly heavy riff. More of this sort of thing.
‘K.G.’ is released by Flightless