Written Before Listen
The return has awakened. The widely celebrated rock band known as King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have returned with another release. This time, promoted with an 18-minute jam session that has been widely celebrated as one of their best songs. With that being said, I don’t know what to expect like with any King Gizzard release, so I'm here for a treat. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
King Gizzard is a band of many styles, they show it more than ever on this album. They even include tracks that are pure hip hop and they sound like a mixture of Beastie Boys and Del The Funkee Homosapien. The Butterfly 3000 sound also returns on this project as the sounds of Tame Impala, MGMT, Of Montreal, and Animal Collective are discovered once again with a Gizzard twist. With the more rock-oriented tracks, they go back to the psychedelic garage rock of the 60s brought to you by Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd and Iron Butterfly, as well as the metal of artists like Baroness and High On Fire. Those are artists that come into mind, there’s plenty more where that came from when it comes to genres.
As the long album, this is, the opening track is an 18-minute acid rock saga but nothing that follows is as progressive, acidic, or linear. The following track is more of a revisit to the sounds of Butterfly 3000 with more synth elements and catchy synth melodies. With “Gaia” and “Predator X”, we get the returned sound of Infest The Rats Nest where King Gizzard went full-on Stoner Metal with a hint of thrash. With “Blame It On The Weather” and “Persistence” we get King Gizzards’ usual style of psychedelic rock but with funkier rhythm sections and jazzy undertones and the latter song mentioned has one of my favorite riffs on the record. I should also mention the outro of the album that could’ve fit on the microtonal trilogy. As you can tell, King Gizzard trackback to previous sounds on this record, but with this being a double album, they try out new sounds. The tracks “Ambergris” and “Presumptuous” are purely soul cuts with electric piano and groovy baselines. We also have the tracks “Sadie Sorceress” and “The Grim Reaper” which are Gizz-tinged hip hop tracks and they might not be my favorite tracks on the album, but I think it's a cool exploration more than anything. The remainder of the album is 60s influenced psychedelic pop with elements of easy listening and more soul and electronic elements. Omnium Gatherum is sure that, with multiple styles tried out. I will also say that no track sticks out like a sore thumb, every track seems to have its place on it and I can truly be on board with that.
The King Gizzard sound is treated with the usual production style of taped drums, silky bass, widespread guitars, and tripped-out vocals. This time around, that sound continues. Even the hip hop and metal tracks have been treated with plenty of vocal effects and analog-sounding drums. That’s maybe what makes Gizzard so eclectic. They can do anything with this sound and anything is what they do. The songwriting is one thing and the arrangements show that, but the production on this record is what makes “The Dripping Tap” and “Evilest Man” entertaining throughout their respective song lengths. I don’t know what it is, but King Gizzard can’t miss with this type of production surrounding them.
While doing my research, I heard that this was a celebrator album as they can now tour together. The sounds of “Butterfly 3000” surely were cool, but what makes King Gizzard the band they are is the tight chemistry. They are all skilled musicians but they are bandmates first and bandmates at the end of the day. Stu and Joey’s guitar riffs bring the band together, Michael Cavanaugh's drum work is excellent as the rhythms never miss a tick and the fills are perfectly arranged, and Lucas Harwood's bass is rhythmic and groovy all around as Stu, Joey, and Ambrose’s vocal work is never distracting the great instrumentation behind it. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard proved over and over again that they are a band’s band and this is another example of exactly that.
Well, with this being an 80-minute album with numerous stylings, there are some instances where tracks don’t succeed. The biggest examples are the hip hop tracks, they are just the basic formats of hip hop. It brings more early 90s hip hop aesthetics more than anything and surely they have abstract production, but it still comes off a little formulaic. I also think the outro of the album could’ve been a little bit more cohesive than it was. Other than that, The collection of miscellaneous things contains some of the best Gizzard work I’ve heard thus far.
This might just be my favorite King Gizzard album so far. I love how eclectic it is and I love how it shows the best elements of each style. With the albums that continue with one theme, King Gizzard tends to draw it out a little, but here there’s no evidence of that. They don’t overdo anything and it turns into something more cohesive and enjoyable.