When King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard spoke about their plan to release five records in 2017, it didn’t come as too much of a shock. If there’s a band to do it, surely it’s them? Starting with undoubtedly one of their best releases to date in ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’, which was then followed by the final piece of the Nonagon Trilogy ‘Murder Of The Universe’, King Gizzard were well on their way to fulfilling their ambition (we’re still hoping for a A Very Merry Gizz-mas come December). Now for their third entry of 2017, the Aussie outfit have enlisted Alexander Brettin and his jazz pop project Mild High Club for the Miles Davis inspired ‘Sketches Of Brunswick East’.
Even though the title may suggest otherwise, ‘Sketches’ doesn’t feel like a bunch of ideas that King Gizzard and Mild High Club cobbled together for a release. Tracks such as ‘Dusk to Dawn on Lygon St’ and ‘The Spider and Me’ are densely packed with sounds of wildlife alongside the album’s jazz aesthetic, with the latter making you feel like that Family Guy clip where Peter Griffin rides a dolphin naked.
Whilst it may only be a semi sonic departure, the LP is comparable to their 2015 release ‘Paper Mâché Dream Balloon’, ‘Sketches’ does feel like its own entity in King Gizzard’s mythology. Album highlight ‘Rolling Stoned’ is blessed with the most serene flute playing you’ll hear all year, whilst ‘Countdown’s smooth jazz-tinged instrumentation sends you down a river of syrup on a kaleidoscopic lilo. ‘D-Day’ follows and sees the album tightening up with classic noodling King Gizzard guitars.
And that’s what’s so great about this project, it still feels like a King Gizzard record. Tezeta has the return of everyone’s favourite vomit conquering cyborg Han-Tyumi (Gizzverse #confirmed), with ‘The Book’s menacing vocal and guitar lines acting as huge call-backs to the massive discography of the Lizard Wizards. As for ‘The Journey to (S)Hell’, the spook-inducing synths are cosmic as hell and make for some of the album’s most vivid moments. This intensity is earlier exhibited in ‘Cranes, Planes, Migraines’, a short and grooved filled segue that exhibits classic Gizz.
After experimenting with microtonal tuning and spoken-word psychedelic pandemonium just this year alone, trying their hand at a jazz based project and succeeding is truly a testament to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and their musicianship. A fluid, effortless and absorbing listen, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard aren’t just one the industry’s most prolific bands, they are also one of the world’s best.
Words: Liam Egan
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