King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Murder of the Universe (2017)

 

 

King Gizzard

 

The most mature album from the band to date; King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard cement themselves in the indie-verse as a force to be reckoned with.

It’s a good time to be a King Gizzard fan. In juxtaposition with Slowdive’s recent release; their first album in 22 years, we are now upon the 10th LP in 5 years by the Australian psych-rock outfit. In November of last year, King Gizzard went on-record to announce that they would be releasing 5 albums in 2017. I don’t think there’s a need to explain further why casual fans would be a tad suspicious. How much depth can the band sustain? How many new ideas could a band put on wax to justify this insane amount of new material?

I was introduced to King Gizzard through their 2015 LP, Nonagon Infinity. From that perspective, I experienced something that can only describe as a mild disappointment upon the release of their first 2017 release, Flying Microtonal Banana. Being familiar with 24-TET tuning only in concept previous to this release, I was impressed with the musical ambition. However, their 9th LP couldn’t demand my total attention like I was used to with this band. It was an interesting experiment, but I was anticipating the next release with baited breath.

The Aussie revolutionaries have found their footing.

I’m happy to say Murder of the Universe is an incredibly worthy sequel to the breakout Nonagon Infinity. Without getting into spoiler territory1, this album expands and develops even further into the sound which brought King Gizzard to the masses. MotU was seemingly recorded in a vacuum of space, isolated from every trend present in modern music. It seems the psych-rockers would be more comfortable among like-minded company such as Rush. It’s a bold comparison, but although Murder is a far-cry from the ambitious and revolutionary prog-rock album 2112, the similarities are, in my mind, noticeable.

A narrator accompanies over half the tracks on the album, guiding us through a story that I will be the first to admit is almost unintelligible. All you or I need to know, is this never detracts from the overall outcome, but always adds.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard will never appeal to everybody, but they’re always going to appeal to themselves.

The sci-fi elements present on MotU are developed not just through conceptual narrative, but through musical elements as well. Glaringly present on the latter 3rd of the album are warm synths accompanying the usual lo-fi guitars and vocals that lie far-back in the mix. Comparisons to Nonagon are impossible to avoid. Yet, despite how comparisons may come across like a retread, this couldn’t be further from the truth. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard may be the most self-serving band working today. They wanted to make a space-opera, and did so with aplomb. Murder of the Universe is more exciting, more invigorating, and a more confident effort in comparison to anything they’ve done so far.

8/10


1Something I would never expect to say in an album review.

Author: John Osterberg

Based out of Toronto, Canada; John is a long-time music lover, performing in numerous concert bands and jazz bands alike, as well as writing his own solo material. His favourite artists are Joanna Newsom, Kendrick Lamar, and Sufjan Stevens.

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