By Luis Castilla
Australian band King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard add a new quarantine- themed chapter to its prolific catalog with its new album “K.G.”
At this point, it’s almost impossible to call King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard a rock band. It has covered so many musical bases and genres, it’s difficult to pin down its sound.
“K.G.” sees the band dive back into microtonal tuning and odd time signatures, which are not common in Western music, making for a blend of Middle Eastern styles and psychedelic themes.
This is not the first time the band has experimented with microtones. “K.G.” is the long awaited “Explorations Into Microtonal Tuning Vol. 2.”
The band first used microtonal tuning on their 2017 album “Flying Microtonal Banana” for which they modified their instruments to play the notes between notes, or microtones. This album was also known as “Explorations Into Microtonal Tuning Vol. 1.”
“K.G.” builds on the foundation “Flying Microtonal Banana” lay down. The band seems to have a better understanding of the possibilities microtones provide and use them freely on this album.
“K.G.” opens with the minute-and-a-half instrumental “K.G.L.W.,” which also introduces the listener to the microtonal aspect of the album.
Much of the album delves into the complicated and mixed emotions that come up while in quarantine, from damning governmental incompetence on “Minimum Brain Size,” to the hopelessness of trying to stop the COVID-19 pandemic on “Straws in The Wind” and “Some Of Us.”
“Intrasport” has to be the most unexpected and pleasantly surprising track on this album, even by the standards of a band as musically diverse as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Described as a “90s Turkish house banger” by the band, “Intrasport” is funky and electronic with vocals akin to those of Britnery Spears. It is by far the most fun track on “K.G.”
“Honey,” one of the singles released prior to the album, is still a standout. This sweet acoustic track began its life back when the band began working on “Flying Microtonal Banana,” Stu Mackenzie, the band’s frontman said in an interview with Julian Martlew of KEXP.
“Honey” is also complimented by the rest of the album, flowing nicely with its dynamic sound.
“K.G.” turns a heavy corner after “Honey,” ending with a face-melter in “The Hungry Wolf Of Fate.” This sludge metal track closes “K.G.” with a Black Sabbath-esque wave of noise and is among the heaviest tracks the band has ever released.
This album was created mostly remotely as the pandemic prohibited the band from recording together. Much of the album was recorded using iPhones as well.
The band also released a live album, “Live In San Francisco ‘16,” on the same day as “K.G.” Both releases are available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music and for purchase via the band’s website.