King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
DL now / Vinyl and CD available late Spring
King Gizzard return with the sister album to the great and more accessible K.G. with a massive bang to solidify their mantle as one of the original great bands of our time. It’s an absolute stunner that’s going to be up there in the best albums of 2021 says Wayne AF Carey…
I’ll be honest from the outset here. I’m a latecomer to King Gizzard and listened to Flying Mictrotonal Banana on the premise of Tame Impala being so bloody good and was dragged in. Every album had something about it to my ears. When K.G. came along last year that was it. It blew my mind with the psych mind melt. Moving onto L.W. A sister album that has totally fucked with me…
First track If Not Now, Then When? kicks in with a mesh of guitars and drums then slows down into a funky as fuck melody covered in falsetto vocals from Mackenzie back with some proper old school psych keyboard rhythms. O.N.E. carries on the funk and the traditional use of their trademark Turkish baglama playing, layered with lush guitar and loads of psyched out whoops. The drumming is insane. Pleura just slides straight in with a great intro, pauses then bangs into that familiar sound I’m growing to love. These are musicians at their best who look and sound like they’re enjoying every minute (check the video below). Whoops, wah wah, tantric vocals. It’s a slice of modern prog at it’s prime.
Supreme Ascendancy is a funky bundle of joy that starts all Eastern sounding, then bounds in with a fast paced drum beat and loads of weird as fuck noise coming from those modified instruments, that astound many a musician today. Mental stuff that just works on all levels. Probably the most accessible track on the album Static Electricity comes in slowly and you can smell the hashish wafting downs the streets of Marrakesh as it rolls in like a massive spliff waiting to be toked. It’s that good. They make it sound so easy yet inexplicably hard. I’d love to see a band trying to copy this stuff. East West Link eases in with a mellow feel then goes all nuts with some lush vocals and sounds I can’t identify. It then goes “Whooh” and the guitars and baglama’s dive in for a session. It just grabs you and shakes your senses.
Ataraxia slows the pace down a bit, a dark number that has shades of Sabbath meets T-Rex as the vocals go a bit Bolan on us. The chorus is infectious as fuck and the drumming is second to none. No messing around here. See Me is a strange sounding slice of experimental psychedelia which has sprinkles of Zappa in the mix. Is that steel drums I can hear? It catchy, dark as fuck and the key changes are so exciting. it’s so complex it’s unreal. You won’t get it out of your head. Hypnotic and mesmerising. Just when you think the album can’t be topped they wing their way in with K.G.L.W. Fuck me… This is huge. By far the best tune I’ve heard this year. It lulls you in with a dark psych intro then punches you in the face with a riff of huge proportions that will slay you. It’s like their anthem and it’s gonna blow your face apart live. A proper stoner riff that goes into mental feedback then rips into a spine tingling chugging riff backed by amazing drum techniques. It makes Sabbath sound like amateurs. I just can’t get that “KGLW” line out of my head. It’s like a druid chant at solstice ready to brainwash your soul. The drums build towards the end with another massive riff kicking in that is the closest to metal you’ll hear. A proper psych metal wig out that has stunned me.
I love the simplicity of a good punk hook, the catchy indie anthems, the post punk sounds of a lot of original bands cementing their unique stuff on the scene, yet this is compelling musicianship at it’s best. 17 albums in, this is possibly their best work and they have finally honed their sound into their own. One of the best bands around in these dark times…
Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here