This week, I am going to tell you about the band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, a psychedelic rock band from Melbourne, Australia. If you couldn’t already tell from their name, this band consistently favors the strange, unexpected and the experimental. That is why for this entry, rather than focusing on specific songs, I’m going to share the different concepts they’ve taken on. Each record from the band is a new experiment of music and promotion.
The lyrics aren’t meant to be the focus of your attention when it comes to their songs. You might be able to understand a few words and phrases, but the instrumentals are what steal the spotlight every time. While I might go into detail on a few songs in this entry, the overarching concepts and instrumentation on their records is what’s important.
Possibly the most popular of King Gizzard’s endeavors, this album carries out the unthinkable. The entire runtime of the album feels like one continuous song. Most artists have numerous distinctive songs within one album, each separate from the others. King Gizzard flipped this idea upside down and created an album with tracks that transition right into the next, creating one long song that seems to go on for forever. When you reach the ninth and final track on the album, its ending leads right back into the beginning, creating a cycle effect. While you’d expect any typical album void of breaks to have a consistent sound throughout, this one seems to always change its mood and style. Songs will shift time signatures and include drum solos, and sometimes including very unique instruments like a sitar to make this never ending song refrain from being stale.
This album consists of King Gizzard’s strangest styles and sounds. Instead of conceptual ambition like “Nonagon Infinity,” “Flying Microtonal Banana” has more of an instrumental ambition. For example, on this album, the band fitted their instruments with extra strings so they could play the notes in between conventional notes to create a larger soundscape. The shining moment from this album is the song “Nuclear Fusion.” Nuclear Fusion, as a concept, is used as a metaphor for relationships in the song, which is ultimately brilliant. Bands using obscure concepts or ideas and comparing them to something normal is a creative marvel, and King Gizzard pulls it off perfectly with this song. “Flying Microtonal Banana” is an album distinct from all their others, and probably my favorite they’ve ever produced. With its combination of unique sounds and lyrical concepts, this album is a standout among everything King Gizzard has produced.
It’s not often you see a band that doesn’t want to maximize profit after every single album of theirs releases. King Gizzard is an exception to this, evident in the release of its 12th studio
album, “Polygondwanaland.” Instead of releasing the album and selling it to make profit, the band gave it to fans, encouraging them to do what they want with it. Anybody could use the album in any way they wanted, no exceptions. People created crowd sourced vinyl pressings, independent record labels, and some people had all the money they made off the album going to charity. This helped the album gain popularity in a very experimental and unconventional way, something you rarely see from artists these days.
THE YEAR OF 2017
2017 was a year of unrivaled ambition for this group. They set out with the goal of releasing five full length albums in this year alone, a goal they would later go on to accomplish. The first of these was “Flying Microtonal Banana,” which I’ve already discussed.
The second was “Murder of the Universe,” which was very experimental. It’s split into three chapters of spoken word narration of a storyline, like an audiobook with music. It explores themes of temptation and good versus evil. Temptation is shown through the protagonists desire to alter himself, which is taboo in his community. Good versus evil is shown through a fight between The Lord of Lightning, who represents light, and the Balrog, who represents darkness. It’s spoken word narration of a moral conflict makes it stand out among other rock albums.
“Sketches of Brunswick East” was their third album released in 2017. It was a collaboration with another band, Mild High Club. It isn’t an album with any large goals or concepts in mind, which is unlike King Gizzard. The collaboration with the Mild High Club is probably the most noteworthy and experimental part of this record.
The fourth album released was “Polygondwanaland,” which I have already gone over.
The fifth and final album of 2017 was “Gumboot Soup.” It just barely hit the deadline of being released in 2017, being released on New Year’s Eve. It is the softest sounding album released by King Gizzard, and in my opinion, it’s also their most conventional sounding. Even though this album is a retreat from much of their more experimental work, it’s still an album I enjoy thoroughly.
“Gumboot Soup” was the last album King Gizzard has released, making 2018 the only year since the release of their first album, “12 Bar Bruise,” that they haven’t released an album. Later this year, they will be releasing “Fishing For Fishies.” It will be their 14th studio album, and every King Gizzard fan is eager for its release after over a year of waiting. Hopefully it will be just as bizarre and challenging as their other albums.