Ripping and rocking. Hot bods, hot riffs, hot beats. A catchy first line escapes me so I’ve put my faith in the description Mac Demarco gave of this band at Coachella, to hopefully entice you enough to the end of this sentence. A band who possess unrivaled work ethic, an ability to consistently produce music that St Peter has on his playlist as he goes to work at the gates of heaven and also, well, hot bods, hot riffs, and hot beats. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are the band of the moment and before you realise that phrase does not mean anything exactly, it’s too late- you’re hooked.
Summarising King Gizzard into a sentence is hard- they are an Australian psychedelic rock group who experiment with their sound religiously and refuse to pin themselves down in fear of being, God forbid, labeled. To ‘get’ the band from your first listen isn’t expected, it’s easy to dismiss them as just noise and regurgitate your mates mistakenly confident opinion that they are just a wannabe Tame Impala. It’s easy but as they spin their Maroon 5 records, you are here welcoming King Gizzard’s attempt to open your ears; and here is their guide.
Cellophane was my portal to the band, the bass looped around in my head for days and I was forever on the verge of the high pitch scream, fulfilled only when I listened to the song again. It's fast and hectic, you can’t make sense of half the lyrics but when your focus is drawn towards the bass and sloppy guitar, you don’t need to make sense of them. It’s the only time you’re justified in listening to a song with a harmonica in it without feeling dirty. Off the same album, self-titled track I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, is also a noteworthy addition for you. It is short and fast-paced, just like the whole album; it subtly features that same bass loop under just violent and boisterous instrumentals. This album was my first experience of what King Gizzard had to offer and its varied distractions stopped me at Slow Jam 1. I had a perception of the band from the other tracks that was totally blown out the water with this song, they could do slow and chilled whilst painting a picture for you to help you imagine whatever cloud you are floating on that time. Luckily for me Slow Jam 1 was just the tip of the experimentation iceberg I would be subjected to by the Australian lads and found itself down in the pecking order when I discovered their other work.
I assume you are still reading out of some faint, hopefully significant, interest forming from you towards the band so I will carry on taking you through my journey of being a fan of King Gizzard. I delved into the pre-2014 albums but did not find anything that particularly grappled me like the other songs had. Whilst that opinion would change quite quickly, thankfully, Quarters was there to throw a life raft my way only to chuck me into the 10-minute, 10-second trip that is The River. This is pure perfection. Soft vocals accompanied by a melodic riff, bass, and high backing vocals, it’s a testament to their strengths as musicians. Past 3 minutes it collapses and then builds back up again with the repetitive bass which repeats itself 2 minutes later. It leads the listener floating on their own river, finding rough waters and then finally floating back down to the land. It’s rare for one song to sound like a whole album but yet keep us trapped and enticed, with no thought of changing the track. If shuffle serves you well, it drifts into God Is In The Rhythm, as it has done for me oh so often. If The River was the river, then this song is the walk back to civilisation. You walk through forests and fields, transported to different terrains that range from the hot desert to the icy grasslands at dawn. Quarters as an album is so easy to describe but yet not understood fully until you listen to it yourself and then all those comparisons to paradise make sense.
And thus, the peak of my experience with King Gizzard, so far, I’m quick to add. Nonagon Infinity. The album is full of patterns, deadly riffs and class vocals. It’s main selling point is the distinctive chant of the album title that is a marvel to witness live. A crowd full of people who may not know all the songs but united by that one riff plastered across multiple tracks. I cannot pinpoint a highlight of the album, it needs to be experienced in full and I’m sure it will be, by you.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. The name alone must intrigue you to listen to them or at least ponder upon the subject of how many drugs they were on when that name was decided. This band is a sober man’s acid, a shepherd’s crook and frankly a GOOD answer to the shortcomings of Tame Impala. Be that cool guy who sits in darkened corners, coming out to change the song then retreating soundly back to comfort, sitting smugly as everyone reacts the same way you did the first time you heard King Gizzard. ✉
article by: jack wager
visual by: king gizzard