Album Review: A Journey into the Electronic Unknown – Australia’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Releases New Album ‘The Silver Cord’

The Breakdown

"In a world where many artists find comfort in their signature sound, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard fearlessly march to the beat of their own Simmons drum"
KGLW 8.6

In the dynamic landscape of the music industry, few bands possess the audacious, inventive, and unyielding spirit that characterizes Australia’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. With their 25th studio album, ‘The Silver Cord‘, the band embarks on a thrilling new journey, embracing the world of electronic soundscapes while retaining their fearless approach to creativity. In a world where many artists find comfort in their signature sound, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard fearlessly march to the beat of their own Simmons drum kit.

Image credit: Maclay Heriot

Drawing inspiration from electronic pioneers like Kraftwerk and Donna Summer, ‘The Silver Cord’ defies conventions, pushing the boundaries of song structures and challenging our contemporary notions of attention spans in music. The album is presented in two distinct versions, each offering a unique perspective. The first version trims songs down to their essential hooks and choruses, while the second, ‘The Silver Cord – Extended Mix’, immerses listeners in the full sonic potential of these electronic futurist anthems, pushing the boundaries of song length.

The album opens with ‘Theia‘, a tranquil oasis amidst the electrifying chaos that defines the rest of the record. Clocking in at a serene and expansive 20 minutes on the extended version, ‘Theia’ provides a mesmerising and meditative escape, showcasing the band’s willingness to break away from conventional song structures in favour of immersive sonic journeys, a stand out on the album for sure.

Frontman Stu Mackenzie elaborates on the album’s dual nature, stating:

“The first version’s really condensed, trimming all the fat. And on the second version, that first song, ‘Theia,’ is 20 minutes long. It’s the ‘everything’ version – those seven songs you’ve already heard on the first version, but with a whole lot of other material we recorded while making it. It’s for the Gizz-heads.”

The creative process for ‘The Silver Cord’ was spontaneous and experimental. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard entered the studio each day, improvising and shaping each song collaboratively. Their approach to electronic music might be described as “amateur”, with Mackenzie stating:

“I play the Juno synthesizer like a guitar; I don’t really know how to play it. But I wanted to be at peace with being the rock band pretending to know how to use modular synthesizers. We’re in uncharted waters, we’re further out to sea, but leaning into it, and we got to a spot where we were really happy with what came out.”

The band’s journey into the realm of electronic music began with the impulsive purchase of an iconic relic of 1980s futurism, the Simmons drum set. This unique piece of equipment acted as the catalyst for the band’s exploration of electronic soundscapes.

Beyond the futuristic machine music, ‘The Silver Cord’ delves into metaphysical themes, exploring the spirit, life, death, ancient myths, and meditation. The album’s lyrical depth pairs seamlessly with its music, marking a thrilling evolution in the band’s sound.

For King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, pushing the envelope is ingrained in their DNA. As Stu Mackenzie succinctly puts it, “It’s liberating to terrify yourself”. This adventurous spirit has always been a part of the band’s identity, and ‘The Silver Cord’ is a testament to their commitment to pushing boundaries and embracing the unknown.

Whether you’re a devoted Gizz-head or a curious newcomer, ‘The Silver Cord’ beckons with its mesmerizing electronic vibrations and lyrical depth, inviting you to join King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard on their electrifying voyage into uncharted waters.

Image credit: Maclay Heriot

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