By AVA LIVERSIDGE
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have a new album. While this is perhaps one of the most omnipresent phrases in the modern rock world, the Australian psych-rock outfit have something rejuvenating in-store for new release KG.
As their 16th – yes, 16th – studio record for the decade old group, KG was curiously anticipated by many fans as, unlike their previous releases that tend to blur together in King Gizzard’s lengthy discography, integral member and percussionist Eric Moore departed from the original lineup since their latest release Infest the Rat’s Nest in late August.
While the departure came as a disappointment for audiences as Moore often played a defining role in the group’s experimental sound, the new lineup throws a wrench in King Gizzard’s long standing sonic recipe. That is not to downplay the progressive nature of their musical artistry, especially in a time where the mainstream is not always eager to accept experimental rock with open arms.
Leading the charge in psychedelic rock and experimentation in the modern day is no easy task, and King Gizzard continues to fulfill their duties with the wayfaring and evidently curious journey that is KG.
Regarding the record, KG incorporates an obvious Sahel influence into the production of each of their tracks with sitar-laden sonics and spurring Eastern electric guitar sequences. But the overall standout components of the record’s sound are the shattering percussive arrangements. Despite Moore’s departure from the group, second drummer Michael Cavanagh has managed to pick up the slack in their latest. A combination of pulverizing hard-hits and speedy patterns marked by catchy licks acts as a through-line in each track, adding a layer of much-needed continuity to an eclectic project.
The Gizz not only present an intriguing kaleidoscopic realm with KG, similarly to their other projects, but they create a listening experience that is holistically immersive from the instrumental “K.G.L.W.” opener to the somehow simultaneously slow-burning and electrically bombastic “The Hungry Wolf of Fate” closer.
Even with the occasional variation in vocal styles, the tracks mysteriously and seamlessly flow into each other- not a simple feat for a group that is touted for their diverse and ever-changing dynamics, even within the confines of each discrete body of work.
Aptly-titled opener “K.G.L.W.” perfectly and swiftly sets the tone for the entire project by showcasing the distinct sonic structure that would be implemented and mutated throughout: thunderous, yet technical percussion, catchy electric guitar lines, all accentuated by bouts of sitar and other Eastern influences. The solely instrumental track strategically sets the focus of the record on their groundbreaking aural production, showcased most beautifully in “Automation,” and shifts the focus away from the lyrics overall, oftentimes acting solely as a mode to move tracks along and bare some sort of structure from the flurry of their Sahel psychedelia honky-tonk-rock crossover.
With any luck, King Gizzard will achieve Guided by Voices-esque production rates and continue to deliver the music world’s daily dose of psychotropic fantasia for years to come.