With supposedly five albums being released this year, the Melbournian psych rockers prove there’s ample raw power and innovative fuel left in the King Gizz tank.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard had a career-defining 2016: Nonagon Infinity teetered at the top of the ARIA album charts, they ripped up stages at Splendour in the Grass, Meredith and Laneway, and they pulled off yet another incredible Gizzfest (the band’s self-produced music festival). No one can deny that King Gizz are some of the most hard-working lads in music. Flying Microtonal Banana signals the beginning of another crazy Gizz-filled year.
The album’s most unique feature is highlighted in the title: all of their instruments have been modified to play microtones. Microtonality, for those such as I who don’t own degree in music theory , is the ability to play notes in smaller increments than the standard semitones. Basically, King Gizz can now play the notes between an F and an F#. To casual ears, one probably wouldn’t be able to point out the ‘G three quarter tones flat’, however there are moments on the album when your ears prick up and you think “Is this slightly out of tune?” It’s not out of tune, it’s just unfamiliar. This unfamiliarity can also be attributed to Stu’s new toy: a Turkish wind instrument called a Zurna that, along with the Sitar, provides most of the LP’s Eurasian/Middle Eastern flavour.
Flying Microtonal Banana begins with teaser single Rattlesnake. The track’s opening riff picks up right where Nonagon left off. It’s aggressive bass line, distorted, eerie vocals and repetitive lyrics will surely be a crowd pleaser at festivals. Moshers will be chanting “Rattlesnake! Rattlesnake! Rattlesnake!” whist downing their tinnies throughout the 2017 festival season. The second track Melting takes a mellow turn as it’s jazzy structure and instrumentation relies on staccato hi-hats, cow bells, and keyboard/synth solos. This vibe continues throughout the record as Flying Microtonal Banana seems to take a step back from the explosiveness of its predecessor. Middle track Billabong Valley cruises along with almost Californian vocals and guitars in the beginning before transitioning into Eurasian folk music from 90 seconds in. Nuclear Fusion’s driving funk beat is a highlight on the album and will no doubt become a new fan favourite. But all breeziness fades at the fittingly named Doom City; a classic King Gizz track that balances other-worldly distortion with familiar upbeat guitar licks, and with added creepy Kookaburra calls for your pleasure.
The ninth addition to King Gizzard’s prolific catalogue brings yet another array of fresh tunes to the Melbourne music scene. It has moments that seem a little repetitive, the eponymous final track’s heavy reliance on the zurna can become grating, but the LP’s short length (41 minutes) plays to the band’s advantage. It’s not as fun or heart-pounding as Nonagon Infinity, but I finished the album feeling completely energised.
Flying Microtonal Banana is available via their website or iTunes
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are also announcing new shows at the Night Cat throughout March until there is no more to tickets to sell. They’re performing two sets on a revolving stage. It’s gonna be a cracker of a gig.
Tickets available via Oztix.
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