“King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard Have Created a Hypnotic Masterpiece” – ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ reviewed

A band that I have fallen in love with in recently years after their prolific and energetic album releases, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are back for their first offering of the year after teasing a further 4 album releases. The first of these albums, ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ is exactly what I was hoping for, and they show us why they are a force to be reckoned with.

The Aussie psych 7 piece are known for their experimental sound. After plunging into a smooth and purely acoustic album in ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon, and then plunging into the darkest depths of hellish, energetic psychedelic rock with ‘Nonagon Infinity’, the band plan to release an album recorded only using Microtonal instruments, adding to their courageous and experimental catalogue. This band have gone to the depths of the Aussie outbacks and returned with an intriguing yet exciting new sound which is just breathtaking.

Right from the get go, King Gizzard show the world that they are capable of brilliant and expertly crafted songs. ‘Rattlensake’, a  7 minute 50 second long track is a combination of the heavy psych they play on ‘Im In Your Mind Fuzz’ and elements of the constant and raging drum beats from ‘Nonagon Infinity’ which keep the song flowing and moving at a steady speed for the entirety of the song. Its typical king Gizzard. A steady drum pattern superb riffs and crazy lyrics combining to create a unique, crazy, acid fuelled journey of madness.

‘Melting’ is a soft, melodic track with a funky-ass drum beat and features some of the smoothest guitar playing on the record. Lead singer Stu Mackenzie produces charming and hypnotic vocals which contrast beautifully in the almost jazz like sounds created by the drums, and a guitar riff that will moist defiantly give you an ear-gasm.

The creepy and menacing track ‘Open Water’ features wonderful vocal harmonies and pounding drum patterns from the bands two drummers Eric Moore and Michael Cavanagh. Again, this track is faced paced and reminds me of ‘Road Train’, the title of a song released on their last studio album ‘Nonagon Infinity’. This fast paced, action packed track is undoubtedly one of my favourite moments on this album.

‘Sleep Drifter’ could possible be one of the band softer pieces, yet with the beat heavy drums and sublime, audacious guitar rifts which drift throughout the song, ‘Sleep Drifter’ is a culmination of mellow and loud sounds which blend perfectly together, and adding Stu’s melodic vocals, we get a track which really stands out as yet another highlight on the album.

As for ‘Billabong Valley’, King Gizzard just added another superb hit to their increasing collection. Its energetic and fast paced keyboard, tying in with hypnotic guitars and vocals contribute the track greatly, and with the introduction of a hypnotising flute towards the end, we get the feel that Stu Mckenzie is attempting to charm the rattlesnake within the band, with this sound taking centre stage throughout the tracks.

‘Anoxia’ makes me think of a track from the latest ‘Wolf People’ album. It has a folky sound tied in with psychedelic elements that we love from King Gizzard. The execrated intro during the chorus, and pounding drums lurk in the background, creating a whacky and pretty elegant sound.

The next track is as badass as it sounds. ‘Doom City’ features an excellent and superb introduction of twanging psych guitars, sailing smoothly into an electrifying  and an exceptional track. It flows exquisitly, with those all the same and iconic twanging guitars and flute, which have been a constant feature throughout the record, return for the chorus.

The distorted vocals at the beginning and end of ‘Nuclear Fusion’ point toward a sense of being under a spell or someone else’s control. Steadily travelling through the track you are transported into a microtonal world of psych beats and rhythmic drums, which pulsate throughout the track and album.

The final track on the record really tops it all off. ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ is a very quick song, lasting just around 1 minute 30 seconds  long, yet its inventive and produces a sound uncharacteristic from King Gizzard. It has a very hypnotic, similar to the snake charming vibes of ‘Billabong City’, yet this track is mysterious and almost quite odd. Either way, in true king gizzard fashion, the last seconds of the track feature that dust storm effect we hear at the begging of ‘Rattlesnake’ meaning you could listen to this album for eternity.

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard have created a hypnotic masterpiece with this record. Their changes in style and sound throughout multiple albums is a very positive thing indeed, and its saying off with great extent. Personally, this year will belong to the Aussie 7 piece. One album down, 4 to go.

King Gizzard are playing a handful of UK dates in mid June:

  • Field day Festival, London – June 3rd 2017
  • Albert Hall, Manchester – June 14th 2017
  • o2 Forum Kentish Town, London – June 15th 2017

You can buy tickets here through SongKick.

Words by Piran Aston

feature image courtesy of Bandcamp

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