Release Date: Nov 13, 2015
Record label: ATO
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
A year ago, these Australian psychedelicists were racing through their music, showing the world what motorik would sound like played twice as fast and with raging guitar. Earlier this year they delivered an album of four tracks, each 10min 10secs long, stretching out into trippiness. Now they’re exploring pastoral psych pop – only one track here passes four minutes, and you’ll hunt in vain for viciously fuzzed guitars: it’s all flutes, acoustics and mellowness here.
Ah, the charity shop vinyl trawl. It’s your natural habitat: you, the hunter of rare and esoteric grooves, knelt ‘neath shelves of bric-à-brac, searching for bargain gold among optimistically-priced dross. For so long now you’ve been met with disappointment. But what’s this colourful object tucked between James Last and a water-damaged copy of Paul Young’s No Parlez? Intrigued, you pull the sleeve out.
On the surface, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s second album of 2015 is an unusually fluffy return, ditching the psych jams and snarls of their most recent incarnations for a wholly acoustic approach. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see King Gizzard change things up - re-invention is their bread and butter - but this is a two-footed leap into uncharted waters. Dig below the skin and fur though, and there’s pitch-black blood throughout ‘Paper Maché Dream Balloon’.
Psychedelic Australian seven-piece King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's seventh album, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, feels like it could pass for the soundtrack of an animated film, à la Harry Nilsson's The Point or the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. It also channels some Magical Mystery Tour with the use of backmasking and looping (take a peek at the album art to see the influence there, too) and early Donovan, particularly in its choice of instruments (acoustic guitar, plenty of flutes, clarinets and punchy drums). This record is bucolic and bright, cheery, idyllic and fun without being too cheesy — which is important, given there are flutes featured on nearly every track on this record.
Float-away Aussie hippie folk, curiously short on magic reptiles. Having only formed in 2010, it seems mind-blowing that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – a seven-piece psych garage band that wafted hither on the psychotropic mists emanating from the peaking Aussie psych scene – have self-released enough albums on their own Flightless label to grow bored of space rock already. .
One of the most interesting aspects of Melbourne, Australia's King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is how a seven-piece ensemble manages to produce such winning sounds by effortlessly employing restraint rather than overkill. And with Paper Mâché Dream Balloon being their seventh album (along with a couple of EPs) in less than five years, they have things down to a psych-pop/rock science. .
After dazzling fans of long, twisting, freak-out jams with their epic Quarters album, the ever-whimsical Australian group King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard make a stylistic left turn on Paper Mâché Dream Balloon. Recorded mainly on acoustic instruments, liberally spiced with flutes, violins, and harmonicas, and full of concise, quietly hooky tunes, the record sounds like the most eccentric batch of backporch pop to come along since the prime of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. From the opening "Sense" right through to the end, the group sets a laid-back, relaxed mood and rarely breaks free, or breaks a sweat.
First things first: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is a profoundly appalling name for a band, a genuine ball-and-chain moniker seemingly designed to lower expectations to rock bottom level. During a first spin to Paper Mache Dream Balloon, it seems worryingly as if the Australian six-piece have cooked up an album serious and substantial enough to match both their unpromising handle and the naivist cover art. After the serene, sax-wielding jazz-folk pop of the elegant opener "Sense", the album rapidly plummets into what sounds suspiciously like a parody of the worst exploitative excesses of candyfloss-light late 60's psych-pop amidst a flurry of flutes; at times, you're reminded of the wackiest bits of gibberish cooked up by Devendra Banhart in a full T-Rex worship mode.