Building notoriety as quite literally the most bonkers band about, the Australian experimental/psychedelic/weird outfit King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are set to release their 9th album in the space of 5 years – and one of five, yep you heard us, five, albums the pioneers have planned for 2017. In a perpetual state of evolution, Flying Microtonal Banana is a step away from the band’s rip-roaring phenomenon, Nonagon Infinity from 2016, but not a stone’s throw away from the hypnotic sounds seen on their 2015 release Paper Mâché Dream Balloon. Utilising entirely microtonal instruments costing $200, this album is unorthodox to say the least.
Without delay, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard jump right into Flying Microtonal Banana with the 7 minute long microtonal masterpiece that is ‘Rattlesnake’; building up a claustrophobic sound with robotic vocals, sharp guitar riffs and gut-busting and piercing instrumentals, the track is intensely mind-warping and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Off-kilter drum beats greet ‘Melting’, a 5 minute odyssey reliant on wavering keyboard runs and wafer-thin vocals. At this point in Flying Microtonal Banana, you sort of begin to feel like you’re stuck in some magician’s dark lair in a fairy-tale as it reaches a whole new level of psychedelic wonderment.
As the powerhouse of two drummers, three guitarists, a bassist, a dabbling flutist and harmonicist, carries on the madness with the concentrated harshness of ‘Open Water’ and ‘Sleep Drifter’, different layers of erratic instrumentals make for a perplexing double whammy of potency. Unrestrained, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard skip on through to ‘Billabong Valley’, with an oddly fitting inclusion of an obscure Turkish wind instrument, the Zurna, leaving an eerie and quite jittery break in the album.
Taking on a new lease of energy, ‘Anoxia’ has an almost disco-feel with descending guitar licks and groovy bass-lines, before the album bops its way back to its spellbinding roots with ‘Doom City’. With a hauntingly dark opening, ‘Doom City’, aptly, takes a bit of a doom-rock stance progressing through a short 3 minute stint of vicious stop-starts and derangement.
For an album played entirely on microtonal instruments, Flying Microtonal Banana does not tire easily; as it reaches a close, ‘Nuclear Fusion’, and titular track ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ still manage to sound disparate from the rest of the album. From the scuzzy and falling sound on ‘Nuclear Fusion’ to the tribalistic, reverb-stained ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard‘s new album is eccentrically bizarre.
With no exaggeration, it’s fair to say that King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard might just be the most exciting band about, and that Flying Microtonal Banana will be making its way onto a fair few ‘Album of the Year’ posts come December, inevitably alongside the other four releases planned for 2017.
Nab yourself a copy of the propulsive album over here.
Words by Jasmin Robinson