Release Date: Nov 11, 2014
Record label: Castle Face
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Garage Rock Revival
Since Kevin Parker started Tame Impala in 2007, antipodean psychedelia has steadily gathered an audience eager to have their minds bent. Following the release of second album ‘Lonerism’ in 2012, Parker’s band have cracked the UK Top 20, played megashows with Arctic Monkeys and amassed a worldwide fanbase. Their success has brought attention to former bassist Nick Allbrook and drummer Jay Watson’s band Pond, who made their breakthrough four albums in with the eccentric psychedelia of 2012’s ‘Beard, Wives, Denim’.
Terrible it might be, but King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is a wholly suitable name for this seven-piece Australian psychedelic outfit, who metaphorically throw DayGlo paint at the studio walls without regard for taste – blues harmonica, double drummers, flute, beaty pop, heavily treated vocals – and see what emerges. They’re an extraordinary live act, and if their recordings can’t quite match that, their fifth album is still a ton of fun. They’re at their most exciting when they drone, but not in the mid-paced, two-chord way of so much modern psychedelia: their drone is played at Ramones pace, with Keith Moon fills from the two drummers, and thus the opening four tracks here meld into one 13-minute sprint through the inner wardrobes of your mind.
Australian psych troupe King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have not simply released their new album, I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, but rather they have opened a portal into quite strange and wonderful new sonic dimension. Maaaan. The seven shaggy-haired chaps who make up this freakishly named outfit hail from Carlton, Melbourne, and as of yet they haven't made much headway into the consciousness of the UK music scene.
When a band hits the stage with more than five members, you're looking at something that's bound to be either a spectacle or a complete fiasco. Sure, the history of popular music is full of excellent bands with unwieldily large lineups (Funkadelic, Talking Heads on Stop Making Sense). Sometimes, it's just a mess (various jam, nu-metal, and high school talent show bands).
The intensely interesting King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have put the jam band scene on notice. Their new album, I'm In Your Mind Fuzz is a voraciously psychedelic piece with a strange sweetness and thrash ferocity. At moments the eclectic Australians sound at the brink of spinning uncontrollably into the atmosphere, but are held together by catchy, head-bobbing riffs and adhesive bass lines.The first four tracks are more like a single extended track going through different movements and theme changes.
Who can say why this young Australian seven-piece have chosen to lumber themselves with a name that sounds like the title of a Julia Donaldson children’s book? Still, their enthusiastic take on psych-rock has its moments, not least on the title track of their fifth album, a kernel of melody wrapped in fuzz that invites favourable comparisons with Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall. They’re at their best when delivering raucous, Nuggets-style three-minute pop, their longer songs at times dissolving into aimless jamming. The quieter ones, meanwhile, have a tendency to drift past prettily but inconsequentially.
Arriving just eight months after the amiable Aussie psych-rockers' Oddments LP, I'm in Your Mind Fuzz finds King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard doing what they do best: Simultaneously assembling and dissembling semi-epic blasts of early Flaming Lips, 13th Floor Elevators, the High Strung, Thee Oh Sees, and Dungen-esque space/psych rock and having a great time while doing so. Opener "I'm in Your Mind" is a churning, Krautrock-inspired, largely stream of consciousness-driven road anthem that takes up the first half of the album (the ensuing "I'm Not in your Mind," "Cellophane," and "I'm in Your Mind Fuzz" are mere mile markers), and it serves as an excellent litmus test for listeners wondering how far into the fuzzy, fidelity-challenged, multi-colored waters they're willing to wade. The back half of the record is a tad more diverse, with highlights arriving via the loopy, beatnik-blasted "Hot Water," the epic pop posturing of "Her and I (Slow Jam 2)," and the fractured "Satan Speed Up," the latter of which sounds like a lo-fi amalgamation of Led Zeppelin's "The Rain Song" and anything off of MGMT's Congratulations.
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard are in the currently rarefied air of having a good, genuinely memorable band name in an era of diminishing band name returns. Tack on a fabulously sleazy-fun live show full of seven (+/-) long hairs a-flyin’, flare pants a-flowin’ and guitars wah-wahed out of their wood, and you’ve got a recipe for some buzz. Which in itself is actually surprising, as flamboyant stage presentation for indie rock bands seems verboten lately.