KING GIZZARD and the LIZARD WIZARD – ” Polygondwanaland ” Best Albums Of 2017

Posted: November 18, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Near the end of last year, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard promised they’d release five albums by the end of 2017. As we creep closer to the end of this year, the Aussie psych outfit have thus far shared three: Flying Microtonal Banana, Murder of the Universe, and Sketches of Brunswick East (with Mild High Club). They’ll bring the tally up to four this week with the release of their latest full-length effort, Polygondwanaland.

Lead single ‘Crumbling Castle‘ opens the immersively brilliant POLYGONDWANALAND. It’s a mystical, slow-building psych-blues epic. The song sets a fine precedent for an album that listens like a cleverly constructed amalgamation other King Gizzard releases. The 60’s pop relaxation of 2015’s Paper Mache Dream Balloonthe jazzy time signatures of 2017’s Sketches of Brunswick Eastthe trackless rhythmic relentlessness of 2016’s Nonagon Infinitythe microtonal, ancient conjurings of (also) 2017’s Flying Microtonal Bananaand the lyrical stories and themes so strongly present in (also, also) 2017’s Murder of the UniverseThese guys have so richly explored and stretched the boundaries of their own musical and thematic universe that it’s nearly impossible for all their new stuff not to be entirely self-referential. King Gizzard can only sound like King Gizzard, and that’s a really, really awesome thing.

The album’s eponymous second track cruises upliftingly along on the burbling surface that is Gizz’s ever-deepening rivers of intertwining concept-driven song themes and stories. It opens in to the mouth of a swirling ocean, pulsing synth and clever guitar picking that spreads itself across the expansive and catchy ‘The Castle in The Air‘ and ‘Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet‘. These back-to-back tracks will swallow you up in them. Gizzard front man Stu Mackenzie delivers slightly tense, staccato vocals over a somber bass and synth combination.

A hugely 80’s synth warble that’d be at home in the middle of the Stranger Things intro opens ‘Loyalty‘ and ‘Horology‘; a back-to-back psych trip that skips along with whimsical aplomb. Mackenzie unleashes the exceptionally capable flautist within him, making sure Gizz’s trademark of deft musical ability.

Lucas Skinner’s trademark bass wanderings really come to the jazzy surface, then guitarist Joey does some more Mongolian throat singing, then there’s what I believe is a sitar for a bit, and then ‘Tetrachromacy‘ seamlessly begins, Eric and Michael begin to really warm up on the drums, and we change gears once more… goodness gracious. Always on the hunt for new horizons both thematically and musically, Gizz employ that desire and curiosity here more so than any other track on POLYGONDWANALAND. We get our first – and very minimal – taste of Ambrose Smith’s mouth organ skills, dashes of cross-album hook repetition and recycling, more glass/ tubular bells, a lyrical querying of undiscovered colours near blue, flute throughout, and some seriously swift rolls and fills from the beguilingly synchronized actions of dual-percussionists Michael Cavanagh and Eric Moore (who also runs Flightless Records while seamlessly doing tandem drumming across some seriously complicated musical structures .

The album expansively closes with the hypnotic and polysyllabic wanderings of ‘Searching‘; heavily 60’s stoner psych journey in to introspection, and finally ‘The Fourth Colour‘; a staggeringly large and complicated song that both drifts and turns corners.  It’s a rollicking album closer.  Just put POLYGONDWANALAND on repeat and keep discovering.

If King Gizzard and the Lizard didn’t release another LP for a decade, their musical output within this year alone would still eclipse most (if not all) multi-millionaire, studio-backed, advertising-funded, marketing-think-tanked pop-star’s album releases by a wide margin. And they did it in their own houses, with their own equipment, under their own record label, while touring the world to sold out shows, running their own music festival, making half a dozen film clips, and personally sending you the merch and records from each release to save on overheads.

Tracklist:

0:00 – Crumbling Castle 10:44 – Polygondwanaland 14:16 – The Castle In The Air 17:04 – Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet 20:38 – Inner Cell 24:35 – Loyalty 28:13 – Horology 31:06 – Tetrachromacy 34:36 – Searching… 37:40 – The Fourth Colour

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