Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Record Review - King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

Published in the April issue of Rhythms magazine.

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard
Eyes Like The Sky
Flightless / FUSE

This is my favourite ‘What The Fuck?’ record so far this year. This decade, actually. You’d expect nothing less from Melbourne collective King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard to be honest, such is their penchant for not doing anything by the book. Not even close.

What this is, aside from being their fourth release thus far, is a spoken word spaghetti western record – almost an audio book in fact, set to music. In a nutshell, Oz music legend Brod Smith plays the part of narrator (in one of the best western voice-over voices you’ll ever hear, hands down), while the band paint vivid aural portraits over the top. You are lost in a desert somewhere. You can feel the hot wind. Your arse does hurt from riding your trusty steed for miles and miles. This is epic stuff.

Vocalist and songwriter Stu McKenzie approached Smith with this idea, Smith dug on it, and away they went. The music was recorded in a Melbourne lounge room, Smith’s voice-overs were recorded into a computer mic – all very easy, no fuss. Smith wrote the words and gave them to the band, and the band also wrote some music and gave it to Smith, to inspire the next chapter.

The result is a booming soundscape of ragged guitars, thundering drums, dusty boots, outlaws, booze and desperation, criminals and heroes, a film without pictures but you can see it so clearly, you’re there. The idea itself would have been a huge gamble, but it’s resulted in one of the records of the year, no doubt.

Samuel J. Fell

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