hey folks, welcome to some discography reviews. i’ve been writing music reviews for some friends in a discord server for a few years now in various forms, but i figured i’d like to get them all in a more centralized space, so here we are! this first series of reviews is a review of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s discography, starting in 2011 with Willoughby’s Beach and running right into 2021 with Butterfly 3000. this review was originally written in August 2021.

as i mentioned last time, in 2017 King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released 5 albums, which, is wild. first up, we got Flying Microtonal Banana

a couple notes first – its been a long time since i was able to play an instrument and i have not really kept up with the study of it, so when im reviewing stuff i’m definitely coming at stuff from like, closer to a baseline listening experience. i also try to avoid doing a TON of research beforehand so i dont “prime” my opinions – i feel like there are plenty of instances where a bit more context helps guide the listening experience but i dont wanna form a ton of opinions just from reviews or discussion. i wanna state those because like, if you had handed me this album with absolutely zero context and no discussion of microtonal music, i think this record might’ve been mildly unsettling but not so strange or disharmonious that i woild’ve been offput by it. and i think they get that because like, every song is about unsettling things. but i just wanted to say that first – im not gonna have any wild thoughts about their tunings, but given my Paper Mache Dream Balloon review, i doubt anyones coming in here expecting that kinda discussion, haha.

so given that, i was told beforehand that Rattlesnake exists as a kind of “primer” for the microtonal sounds they explore in this record, giving listeners plenty of time to adjust. i’m glad i got the head’s up, but it didnt really throw me off at all, likely because KGLW has shown that they can take a long ass track and vary it and play within that rhythmic and thematic space. Rattlesnake is a real nice opener with some good variety and some nice sounds. the bridge is the best. the vocal deliverings and music flairs in the sections leading up to “rattling till your death!” is great. Melting is interesting because its obvious to be playing in weird space with like, the sitar or their higher tonal instruments, but Melting feels a lot quiet and mellower, even as im not sure its any less intense than some of the stuff off Nonagon. Open Water might be my top track on the album. i love the energy if the track, the sense of growing and building danger, i really enjoy the guitar work and drumming on this one. i think Sleep Drifter is Just Right. extremely liminal vibes. The base transition into Billabong Valley is REALLY subtle, its nice. well, well, well, it turns out KGLW was really a western band dressed up as a psychadelic band dressed up as a garage rock band all along. Anoxia is nice, and the stuttering, uneven pace of the verses next to the steady, slow pace of the chorus is really neat. Doom City does some cool stuff too – literally throwing a vocal hook low in the mix under the verses to add a weird layer to the song. ive talked in some previous reviews about some artists handling vocals in the structure of a song but to lay a rhythm vocal hook under a lead vocal line is really neat. obv the song devolves into some more direct unease, but i think that alone is really cool. i had heard both Nuclear Fusion and Flying Microtonal Banana from my friend’s playlist, and of the two, Nuclear Fusion was (and is) my fave. i still get “we’re essentially one being” stuck in my head, and the drumwork on this track is so good. Flying Microtonal Banana is a great close out, with no lyrics and a simple melodic hook to round out the experience.

faves – Open Water, Billabong Valley, Doom City, Nuclear Fusion

dislikes –

dang the transitions on this record were really nice. and i said it up top but i really appreciated how, as you move from song to song, its clear that they want you to confront this potentially foreign sound by lyrically addressing uncomfortable or unsettling topics like drowning at sea or suffocating in wildfire smoke. i enjoyed this album quite a bit, and there are for SURE some tracks i will be revisiting and checking out more of. This one might grow into a low 8 but for now:

Flying Microtonal Banana – 7/10

next time, it’s album 2 of 2017, Murder of the Universe

support the band by buying this record on Bandcamp

first: Willoughby’s Beach | previous: Nonagon Infinity | next: Murder of the Universe

all my reviews for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard