King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is a band who seems to never let up on releasing new material wherever possible. In the hectic year of
2020, the band has stayed busy by releasing live albums, demo albums, and now, a sequel to 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana. Don’t let this album’s repeated concept fool you, the band has gone out of its way to introduce new sounds and new ideas on this new record. The album’s first single, “Honey,” made King Gizzard’s forums go crazy with anticipation that the band would finally be finishing what they started on the 2017 microtonal release. While not as cohesive as its predecessor, King Gizzard manages to craft a fiery batch of new songs on this album.
First thing’s first, this is King Gizzard’s 16th record and will mark the end of the band’s first decade. I had the opportunity of seeing this band three times in 2019, and if you haven’t seen King Gizzard on stage doing their thing yet, that needs to be on your to-do list post-pandemic. The album’s second single, “Some of Us,” shows the band channeling their psychedelic roots. Paired with a heat camera filmed music video, the band had not signaled a clear path for this record. This is not a bad thing, for the band has always been known for its eclectic nature. The woozy instrumentals on this track make for a fitting cap to the album’s first side, and it made me in disbelief that the album was only halfway over.
On the album’s third single, “Straws In The Wind,” the band’s lo-fi roots are showcased like wildfire. The lyricism on this track showcases the band’s environmental awareness, which is showcased to an even more intense level on the album’s predecessor, “Infest The Rats’ Nest.” The janky acoustic guitars on this album sound like something you’d hear on a Modest Mouse record or anything else from the lo-fi Pacific Northwest 90s scene. The band goes in all sorts of different directions on this album, and my only criticism at this point is that the album isn’t longer. The track’s nearly 6-minute runtime makes it a worthy cut on this album that will likely make it a fitting anthem for live shows.
“Join the last migration. It’s fun. F*** the system,” frontman Stu Mackenzie passionately sings on the album’s last single “Automation.” The lyricism on this album sounds like something you might read in a manifesto about an upcoming apocalypse, fitting for the current times we are living through. The home-baked sounds on this album make it essential to the band’s discography. Why? Because King Gizzard proves that it doesn’t take a clean-cut sound to make a kick-ass record. I’m not just cheering the band on, this is something truly inventive, and it's worthy of the repeated listening on turntables all over the world.
The album’s deep cuts that round out this record are made good by the album’s microtonal theme. On track “Minimum Brain Size,” the band finds themselves toying with catchy melodies that are so infectious they shade over the track’s bleak lyrics that seem to attack the world’s digital age. Another deep cut highlight is the jittery track “Ontology.” The glittery guitars that are all over this song give this part of the record an upbeat vibe. The track’s lyricism questions our current existence and gives a captivating testimony to where the world stands as of right now in the middle of this uncertain time.
Perhaps my favorite on the record, the track “Intrasport,” offers lyrical themes of insecurity while offering a danceable instrumental that will have all the post-quarantine mosh pits raving to the surely incredible light shows that we have all missed so much. The track's searing synthesizers combined with the funky guitars make this cut a highlight that will likely become a live staple in the band’s discography.
To cap off the album, King Gizzard worships old school doom metal on the cut “The Hungry Wolf Of Fate,” which screams, “Black Sabbath rules,” and I would have to agree with the band on this one, even if it is blatant worship of some sort. The insanely heavy instrumental on this track serves as a fitting end to an album that, while seemingly pulling you in all directions, seeks to captivate fans from a variety of different genres. This record will be a great addition to the infamous “Gizzathon,” which challenges fans to sit down and listen to every release this band has churned out - all in a row. This album flows seamlessly and should be an easy dive for all fans old and new.