King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – K.G.

5 out of 5

Label: KGLW

Produced by: Stu Mackenzie

Crap, I hate this damn band. Like, I already feel compelled to buy a bunch of music for various reasons; how are you going to put out multiple albums a year, changing up your style, and have them all be worth listening to? And when you finally go back to the well, revisiting the trick of composing tracks of microtonal suited, customized instruments – used previously on Flying Microtonal Banana – why doesn’t it come across as tired, repetitious, air-filling trickery?

How does King Gizzard continue to pump out such identifiable, consistently good music at such a crazy pace? I hate this band. Or rather, my wallet hates them.

While K.G. might not mine new stylistic territory, per se, flitting across the band’s various 70s metal and prog and pop influences, none of the songs are explicit rehashes of previous takes on those, resulting in 9 tracks + 1 intro which might as well all be singles. And although this was recorded during COVID lockdowns, excepting a pretty brittle POV in the lyrics, there’s no stylistic sacrifice, or any sense of compromise: yeah, it’s all damned catchy stuff, but not a small sound, and the sequencing is made as an album, tracks slicked together and juggling classic fuzz rock with oddball synth and and whatever else.

Stu Mackenzie’s lyrics kind of loosely play with fantasy themes, but there’s a dominance of social criticism at play, either right on the surface or one or two steps removed. Having not dug into the group’s lyrics before, this actually quite surprised me, being at odds with the singer’s generally chill delivery, and the overall fun sound of the album. But that’s a rewarding juxtaposition, making experiencing the music and then going back and reading the lyric sheet an interesting about-face, even if a line by line read isn’t necessarily bringing up any wholly complex ideas.

K.G. is packed. The group went back to the well, but did it in a celebratory manner, taking lessons learned on previous releases and applying them to one of their most seamless, front-to-back enjoyable albums. Even when I want to hate them (seriously), the quality of these jams makes it damned impossible.