Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Album Review: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard 
**** out of *****

The prolific psychedelic Australian rockers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, put their summer of love meets the new millennium, freak-out style back into action with their newest release (their 4th of supposedly 5 in 2017), with the easy to pronounce (and spell),  Polygondwanaland. The group keeps raising the stakes with concept albums and explorations with free jazz nodding to Sketches of Spain and their newest is a sonic assault on the senses...in a good way.  

The opening track needs special attention as it is over ten minutes of increasing freak-outs around the title "Crumbling Castle". Frankenstein-ed together but somehow flowing, there are sonic excursions, percussive breaks and a variety of vocal styles that make the full trip even odder. It is a bad ass opening statement and sticks around long after it finishes.

After the dizzying opener the group stays odd, but keeps it direct (well, direct for this outfit). The title track percolates with an excellent bass-line/acoustic guitar work while "Inner Cell" incorporates an eastern tinged flair with a snaking groove. The theme of castles reappears with "The Castle In The Air" a dreamy spoken word adventure before dripping into the propulsive "Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet".   

Synthesizers and flutes color "Loyalty" but it is the ever moving beat that pushes things along and the drum and bass combo wind up the MVP for "Horology" as well. The vocals take a back seat to the gymnastic playing but this album was designed for multiple listens to parse out meanings, phrases and lyrics from the melodic soup. The seven piece can sound overly busy at times (see album closer "The Fourth Colour"), but when things lock in the music can be transcendent.

The band released this full album for free, even posting the master recordings online for people to use as they please. KG&TLW seem to never stop producing music and when it arrives as fresh as Polygondwanaland here's hoping it never stops
Support the band, download the album for free or stream it below, and peep some video:

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