Five albums. One year. Review.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. With eight albums in six years, two self-promoted music festivals, and an independent record label that boasts artists like Babe Rainbow, the Murlocs, and even The Oh Sees, they’re hard to ignore. They’ve conquered the Australian psych scene ever since previous champion Kevin Parker decided to make a synth pop record, and after releasing seminal masterpiece Nonagon Infinity in 2016, one of the best records in a year that included David Bowie’s Blackstar, Swan’s The Glowing Man, Death Grips’ Bottomless Pit and DRAM’s Big Baby D.R.A.M., they had their task at hand and their work cut out for them going into 2017. And if eight albums in six years is impressive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Over the next five weeks, I’ll be reviewing all five, count them, five, albums the band released in 2017, and in the end comparing them and discussing the band’s trajectory forward, before ranking the albums, as what else is there to do but reduce art to numbers?
1. Flying Microtonal Banana
The first of the five, released February 24, 2017, Flying Microtonal Banana seems to have risen to the top of the 2017 heap in many fans minds. An “exploration into microtonal tuning,” the album lives up to the name, with almost every song having a microtonal section, often in mind-blowing solos book-ended by catchy hooks and infectious grooves. Similar to Nonagon Infinity in its tight rhythms and complex riffs, it’s easy to see how the album is the de facto “crème of the crop,” but personally it falls short. Overly repetitive in some areas, (see Rattlesnake Doom City) some of the songs work better as live concert ragers, to which I can personally attest, than standard listening material, and although prevalent the microtonal aspect could stand to be a little more ubiquitous, with such a strong harkening towards the concept in the marketing and presentation of the album. I nitpick, but the album is far from perfect. It’s far above even above-average, however, providing an engaging, and occasionally challenging, romp through sounds so natural the album appears to be a fifty-minute jam the band just decided to release, despite the complex music arranged and mixed to perfection.
Favorite Tracks: Doom City, Nuclear Fusion, Billabong Valley