King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have already pretty much mastered that pulsing garage rocky sound, but they are still aiming to release five (yep, five) albums in 2017. With that in mind, it makes sense to try something a little new right? Flying Microtonal Banana finds them playing around with modified microtonal instruments for a slightly tweaked-out sound. Released by Heavenly.
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7/10 Robin Staff review, 21 February 2017
They have released a small galaxy of records in their brief time as a freak rock unit (n.b. that’s what I’m going to start calling certain psych bands from now on to make things less tiresome) but King Gizzard can always be relied upon to do something a little bit different each time -- which is a relief, because most bands of their ilk couldn’t be more dedicated to their autopilot. Having made a bubblegum psych love letter on ‘Quarters’, a punkish pile of puke on ‘Nonagon Infinity’ and a kids’ folk album in ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon’, they’ve well and truly championed their lacking attention span and I love them for it.
On the dangerously titled ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’, they unleash a sorta-but-not-really concept by playing around with modified instruments that sound warped and wacky. At points where you expect them to complete a melody quite smoothly, their guitars will writhe, tweak and twang, adjusting themselves to a blurry psychedelia with a mere wobble of sound. If it weren’t for this, the hooking linear rhythms and escapologist guitar solos would make this just another psych standard -- this way, it sounds like they’re abandoning it last minute. Many of the best moments on this record are when their instruments shriek, in keeping with a tune but out of its step -- as on the high-octave bluster of “Open Water”, these moments are ear-busters.
As always, King Gizzard employ one of their best sonic constants: having a little sing. I love how simplistic their voicelines are, usually replicating oddball guitar riffs verbatim overtop, or even trembling with a particular drumfill. It’s these kind of movements that convert the group’s moody psychedelia into something giddy and childlike. As the songs fight a tension between locked in hypnosis and a need to change every two seconds, ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ becomes a meeting point of different Gizzard styles, of both their ominous rock repetitions and their refusal to ever grow up.
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