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  • Writer's pictureCase Cockrell

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard returns with yet another microtonal installment on L.W.

Australia's King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are seemingly one of the biggest firm believers in fan service. The band has released tons of studio records, live records and even has gone to release demo albums because they know the fans will listen to everything they decide to commit to tape. The band crafts a batch of songs that provide a psychedelic trip that serves as a worthy addition to their ever-growing discography on new release L.W.

Picking up right where they left off on their previous effort K.G, the band provides an explosive intro to the album with the opening track "If Not Now, When?" This track provides an initial sense of confusion, as frontman Stu Mackenzie once described this track as something along the lines of "Ringtone Funk." It's not easy to pinpoint King Gizzard, so these types of absurd sub-genre classification are essential. When paired with the funky riffage, this track has a vocal melody that makes for a promising start for what's to come.

The mayhem continues on the pair of singles "O.N.E" and "Pleura." Both of these tracks serve as a left turn from the opening track, and the result is two songs that build enormous amounts of momentum that captivate the listener into a heavy yet earwormy experience. It is always worth noting that the band's microtonal acoustic guitars all over this record make for melodies that can get stuck in your head all over this record. The surreal lyrics on both of these tracks can be compared to songs from albums like Ween's "The Pod" or even Butthole Surfers' "Locust Abortion Technician," and that's not at all a bad thing. (Hint: If you haven't heard the albums I just mentioned, spin those NOW.)

As we move into the record's deep cuts, it is compulsory to note that the singles are not the height of L.W., and the best is yet to come. On the 6 minute track "Static Electricity," Mackenzie's haunting vocal delivery paired with the mellow yet electrifying guitar lines feature some of my favorite instrumentation on the entire record. The instrumental buildups on this track have you hooked for the track's seemingly lengthy runtime, and every second is worth it. The gang vocal outro is just icing on the cake.

The Egyptian-like instrumentals that King Gizzard dips into on "East West Link" make for a captivating entry with the guitar and bass pairing that create a desert psych-rock vibe that gives a more exciting structure variety than we saw on previous effort K.G. with a catchy vocal melody as we draw closer to the end of the album. Judging from these new tracks' recent performances, it is apparent that King Gizzard is always evolving as a live act, and the performances showcase a new dimension of the fabled microtonalism that fans have been memeing since the concept's first installment in 2017.

The soaring chorus on "Ataraxia" shows the band starting mellow before breaking out into a not-so-out-of-character pit of fuzz when the song finally erupts just past the halfway mark. The track seems to have a jam section that features all band sections dueling with their abstract ideas. The instrumentation of this track feels like filler content at first, but the bridge section of this track succeeds in justifying its existence. This pattern continues from the midway point of the track until it burns out with searing synths that segue right into the next track.

On a side note, King Gizzard has always been a band of transparency, even if that transparency is sometimes accidental. Whenever there's an imminent single, album, video, or whatever, the information gets out some way or another, and the band always has a way of keeping fans on their toes. Through periodic emails to fans, dubbed "Gizzymail," the band tells fans about what they're up to and what's to come. On one of these recent installments, the band told fans that there would be at least three albums this year, making this one only one of the three. Us King Gizzard fans are spoiled, and the band keeps on giving.

The twinkly keyboards showcased on the track "See Me" paired with the jittery drum beats and catchy vocal melodies reminiscent of Kevin Parker's work with Tame Impala. (This will probably make some King Gizzard fans angry, as uttering the words Tame Impala will release the hounds in some online forums for the band) Aussie Psych rock has become something that continues to evolve. Bands like Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, The Murlocs, and Babe Rainbow are all acts that fans of King Gizzard need to dive into, as the country of Australia is seemingly having a lot more fun than us United States people right now, with their live non-socially distanced shows coming back and all.

The final track on this album, "K.G.L.W," shows the band sending off the album in the best way possible. One could maybe call this track the band's new theme song, as its lone lyric is the band's acronym being spelled out repeatedly throughout the track. The closing track on this record comes in the form of a stoner metal epic of sorts. As the track progresses, the band presents their diversity with one cohesive, sludgy idea after another. The track's ceremonial atmosphere is a fitting end to the microtonal trilogy, at least for now. Who's to say there won't be any more microtonal albums knowing King Gizzard? The track's 8-minute runtime gives fans time to sit back and bask in the glory of what the band has offered on this record, and if any fans don't like this new entry to their discography, there's always the next album.

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