Ok so, putting out eight albums in four years is pretty good going for any outfit but given that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard make sprawling psych-rock opuses, with tracks that can clock up to 16 minutes, how the Melbourne seven piece find the time to concoct their woozy wares is as mind-bending as their music. The band’s latest LP ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ is the start of a 5 album release schedule that will all make appearances in 2017. Yep, 5 records in one year; King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard definitely show no signs of taking their foot of the gas any time soon.
It’s too early into 2017 to be taking about albums of the year but King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have surely come up with the best album title to grace the next 12 months; the gauntlet has been thrown down to any other acts who fancy naming their latest body of work something outrageously brilliant. The LP’s moniker is a reference to the 7 headed collective’s approach to tuning their instruments and custom built guitars. Eric Moore of the band has said “earlier this year we started experimenting with a custom microtonal guitar that our friend Zak made for Stu (Stuart Mackenzie – Kings of the Gizzard-Lizard-Wizards…yeah, he’s the frontman). The guitar was modified to play in 24-TET tuning and could be played with other microtonal instruments. We ended up giving everyone a budget of $200 to buy instruments and turn them microtonal. The record features modified electric guitars, basses, keyboards and a harmonica, as well as a Turkish horn called a Zurna”. Also, the guitars are yellow – hence the ‘banana’ inclusion in the album’s title. Suffice to say, King Gizzard don’t just turn up and rock out when they’re carving out some new music – they go ahead and build new instruments!
‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ is a hazy, propulsive rock record that shimmers all kinds of different colours. A middle eastern flavour ripples through the album’s 9 tracks; you can almost feel the humidity from busy street markets and with it different tastes and smells. For any act that boasts two drummers, King Gizzard’s new album packs a punch in the percussion department, where rhythmic motifs provide a sashaying, hip wiggling backbone to the three guitars belching out technicolour psychedelic riffs. On their 11th album, the Aussie psych-champions work up and down the rev-o-metre, surging to a frantic pace, whilst dipping down to a near standstill – sometimes in the space of one song.
We’re beginning King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s ambitious quintuplet in February 2017 with the Aussie troop modifying and building their own instruments to make something otherworldly and strangely unique – come the end of the year, who knows what weird and wonderful ideas they’ll be indulging in; either way, we’ve bought a ticket for this trippy ride.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams