Be seduced by the syrupy swamp that King Gizz have created.
By LOUIS HUMBERSTONE
One of the most bizarre and prolific Australian bands, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, have kicked off 2017 by showcasing an exploration down the microtonal rabbit hole with a selection of fuzzed out tunes on their latest album, Flying Microtonal Banana.
The album comes after a successful year for the band that included such highs as Nonagon Infinity, Gizzfest, and their late entry to the national Laneway Festival. Flying Microtonal Banana is a diverse album, but maintains a key musical theme throughout, moving away from traditional Western sounds for something more elusive and interesting.
Flying Microtonal Banana begins with lead single “Rattlesnake”. Through it’s slinking Middle Eastern inspired riffs, it’s reminiscent of a desert safari. The track is an indulgence in the kind of trippy tunes that King Gizzard has become renowned for: full of gurgling vocals and borderline nonsensical lyrics. There is always an element of humour to their tracks due to the sheer absurdity of ideas and sounds thrown around, but this makes the band unique- and has led to their ever increasing fan base.
Indeed, in 2017- following the band’s claim they will release an ambitious five studio albums this year- King Gizzard seem set for an unlikely rise to stardom. The band have always carried a fairly niche following, but there seems to be a growing interest in the psychedelic grooves they are producing not just domestically, but globally too.
Part of this global appeal may be down to the fact that the band sound like they originate from the enigmatic “Gizzverse” they sing about. Take the title track, for example, with its African infused drums and shrill sounds punctuating the brief song. In “Flying Microtonal Banana”, the band sound completely in connection with each other, jamming through a repetitive yet intriguing theme that leaves the listener perplexed yet strangely satisfied.
Elsewhere, “Sleep Drifter” is a snappy song held together but its precise drumming, while the rest of the band seems to float away into a psychedelic dream. Lyrics such as “I can know you’re right here / And I can catch your crying tear / We can be so close, dear / When I’m sleep drifting” infuse the track with the kind of introspective façade that became common with many underground songs in the 1960s.
And yet the band never sounds particularly retro. There is a weird feeling of modernity in Flying Microtonal Banana that make the band feel like true creatives instead of revivalists. This is evident in the band’s first foray into an alternative tuning not commonly found in Western music. Drummer Eric Moore explains, “The guitar was modified to play in 24-TET tuning and could only play with other microtonal instruments. We ended up giving everyone a budget of $200 to buy instruments and turn them microtonal.”
Flying Microtonal Banana isn’t for everyone, but then again, it isn’t intended to be. But give it a listen, and there is a good chance you will be seduced by the syrupy swamp that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have created.