If you haven’t heard of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, here’s a short history of the band’s existence. They formed in 2010 in Melbourne, literally as a side-project/joke band. They released the hard-hitting 12 Bar Bruise in 2012. It was mostly garage-ey psych punk revival. The next year saw two completely different, completely amazing albums released from the band. The first, Eyes Like The Sky, was a spaghetti-western themed album that really is in the realm of spoken word. Float Along- Fill Your Lungs was the second that year, which was more of a pure psych-rock album complete with time changes, lofty melodies, and of course, a 16 minute long song. 2014 saw the band drop two more albums, and in early 2015, Quarters!, a collection of four ten-minute songs that was just recently nominated for “best jazz album” of all things, as a part of the ARIA awards, was released
Now, record number 7 is something completely different. Paper Mâché Dream Balloon is a jazz-infused psych-pop blues record that sounds like it could be straight out of the 70’s. All seven members of the band dropped the electric instruments for this one, which is not the first thing that comes to mind at first listen, thanks to some very cool recording technique along with the whole “having 7 guys in a band really produces a full sound on it’s own” thing (which we’ll talk more about in a couple paragraphs.)
“Trap Door” was the most recent single off the album, and has an adventurous feel to it. The intro is a sped-up tape effect that goes straight into the hook of the song, which features a couple of voices repeating “trap door” in 7/8 time, occasionally joined by percussive blasts of Stu’s Flute.
“Sense” is the first track on the album and is perhaps the most jazz-ey one of the bunch. It’s a very laid back track, and a good ease into the rest of the album. A clarinet drives the melody in this one, with a soft piano (not a keyboard!) accompanying it. An acoustic guitar starts out the song with an accompanying part; at first the only instrument audible, however it is quickly swallowed up by the rest of the band’s sound.
The next song, “Bone,” sets a more apt pace for the rest of the album, this time with lead singer Stu Mackenzie’s flute driving the melody, accompanied by a guitar playing the same notes. One of the cool things about this album is that it’s not “acoustic” in any of the traditional ways one might think of. It’s not a guy sitting there open-mic style with an acoustic, nor is it a folk-ey load of fake-emotional crap.
If you’re a recording nerd, well, that’s probably why you like King Gizz. Similar to Thee Oh Sees and at times Ty Segall, the band uses two drummers in their recordings: one in the left channel, and one in the right. That’s not too out there for a band of this variety to do, however, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon is recorded completely acoustic, yet with two full drum sets. I don’t know, seems like a fairly unique thing to do. The rest of the album is recorded pretty much the same way as former King Gizz albums have been done– the drum thing, two guitars anchoring the left and right channels, some good ambient stuff underneath to create that full sound, and strange vocal inflections with a hint of playing around with tape and tape speed. Just, you know, with acoustic instruments
Overall, this is a must listen. It’s already time to start shopping for Christmas according to corporate guidelines, so definitely hop on the vinyl purchase of this completely different album before it sells out (and it will, King Gizz fans are kind of crazy for this stuff). The album is currently up for streaming here, and will be officially out on Friday.
Check out this video for the first single of the album– done by Jason Galea, who does all of the album art and video work for the band (and even tours with them.)