Heavenly – 24th February
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s rampant prolificity is such that their output is less a discography, and more a perpetual soundtrack. Last year’s pulsating trip through the Melbourne madmen’s psych-rock super-factory, Nonagon Infinity, is still plenty fresh enough in the mind for this latest and equally batshit offering to follow quite seamlessly as its sequel – and the first of no fewer than five LPs they’re set to release this year. King Gizzard’s world is a forever growing, evolving, and altogether mind-fucking one – but it just wouldn’t be right any other way.
If Nonagon Infinity was a destruction-wreaking psych tornado, then Flying Microtonal Banana is the aftermath, marked by a certain eeriness and a touch of uncertainty. The gust-like effects that sweep through the closing minutes of foreboding opener ‘Rattlesnake’ and into ‘Melting’ might most explicitly evoke such a metaphor, but the whole mood of the album is a more subdued one by comparison to the breathless intensity of its predecessor.
Lyrically, Flying Microtonal Banana charts undeniably dark territory, which needless to say only intensifies the aura of inevitable doom that persists through its instrumentation – modified guitars, basses, keyboards and harmonica are all at work here, not to mention a Turkish zurna horn. From the earth ‘Melting’ down, to drowning in ‘Open Water’, to ‘Anoxia’, this is psychedelic rock at the more apocalyptic and macabre end of the spectrum. But obviously that’s only a good thing in the hands of such maestros of the genre.
The trance induced here isn’t as inescapable as it has been on much of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s previous work, but that can largely be put down to the album’s somewhat experimental nature – which, in fairness, ought to be allowed for if they’re going to succeed with their audacious intentions for 2017. What the four follow-ups will sound like is anyone’s guess, and perhaps Flying Microtonal Banana will start to make clearer sense in the wider context of those, but for now it’s a curious taste of what might come next, and just so happens to serve as a suitably bleak – if niche and unintentional – accompaniment to the utter state of the world.