King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are a band that, despite hearing their name, I hadn’t heard their music. I went into this album with moderately high expectations, considering the band’s consistently high ratings, but the microtones, insane instrumentals, and the coherence of this album despite all of the weird and varying concepts made sure this album surpassed whatever standards I had. This score may go up in the future, as I feel that this album may be a grower, but on first listen, this is awesome.
The album opens with “K.G.L.W”, a fully instrumental track that is weary and mystical, while using microtones (microtones are utilized a lot throughout this project) to make the track feel almost a bit offputting at times. The first full track on the record, “Automation” (Yang 2020!), has a pretty awesome instrumental with a sweet microtonal progression and insane drumming backing the somewhat distorted, quiet vocals. “Minimum Brain Size” puts the band’s microtonal prowess on display behind a nice and soft vocal performance (although the writing isn’t nearly as soft or kind), and “Straws In The Wind'' has some really well put-together parts- however, the singing wasn’t nearly as good as it was on the previous tracks. “Some Of Us” is mostly unremarkable, but the drum solo that plays only distantly out of the left ear at one opart of the track is a great touch. “Ontology” has a super interesting and groovy Western-ish beat that backs cryptic and deep musings about life and existence. Also, lemme just say that that guitar in the last part of the song is EXCEPTIONAL. “Intrasport” is potentially one of my favorite songs of the year- it’s almost like disco-funk on drugs, and I can’t get enough of it. It’s so incredibly groovy and fun. The next cut, “Oddlife”, has a plethora of different instruments, and the high-quality mixing and production brings them all together extremely well, and “Honey” is more of a folky cut with a somewhat obnoxious chorus but a pretty exceptional drum performance. Also, the falsetto that comes in a bit around the end is awesome. Finally, the closer is definitely something I did not see coming in the tracklist- it’s the most ridiculous track on here, probably by a long shot. The electronics on this song sound like if Pulse Demon had a sort of musical direction, and the distorted drums and instruments are crazy. The outro of this song especially hit me like a ton of bricks, ending this album with a near-literal bang. I really didn’t know what hit me, but I loved it.
Considering that my score is not incredibly high and there is barely a criticism in sight in the previous paragraph, I thought I’d explain why the score isn’t higher (yet). None of the tracks are that “sticky” (that is, they’re not too catchy), and despite the project exploring a range of styles, some of the sounds that I wish stuck around were replaced with ones that I didn’t enjoy quite as much. Also, the vocals aren’t great- they’re often swallowed by the instrumental, and they don’t show a ton of versatility or range. However, other than those issues, I can confidently say I enjoyed this record.
In summary, K.G. is a pretty exceptional album, and while I can’t speak to how groundbreaking it is on KGLW standards, considering that this is pretty much my first experience with their music, this was a great album that I’ll definitely spin a few times in the future!