God forbid I use this phrase – but the new King Gizzard album in execution is a happening.
Believe me, I want to punch myself in the stomach when I wrote that.
But it’s very much a statement that sums up exactly what the Australian band have created with this album. Their grandiose gesture of giving it away for free and allowing people to burn it, create cassette tapes and pass it around is akin to the tape trading days of old. I myself am quite tempted to dub it onto cassette tape to gather than poor man’s vinyl style. Thankfully, there are a swarm of people who are doing that already, with the band themselves committing the work to vinyl in a limited, multi-colored run.
Musically it is incredibly involved for a group of their stature to give away also, which befits the happening kind of vibe. There’s plenty of vibes within the album also; album opener “Crumbling Castle” incredibly manages not to meander in it’s 8+ track length and though bears the hallmarks of progressive rock is done in such a way that it could lend to a rise in the curious amongst us to start tracking back to the 1960’s movement.
“Horology” in contrast tends to borrow some flourishes from 80’s synthwave with it’s arpeggio driven synth lines but still embraces the progressive nature to include woodwind instruments as to not completely divert away from the overall sonic thematics of the album. The track isn’t solitary on the album in providing this “respite” (if you can call it that) – it could have been easy for the group to go all in with a 43 minute psychedelic odyssey that would only appeal to their ever-growing fanbase. By changing, even slightly, their presentation on each track there is something to pique the interest of those who perhaps aren’t familiar with the band.
Combine that element with their distribution model, and it would feel that King Gizzard are welcoming newcomers with open arms without alienating those that have been on the same trip (I could say without harshing everyone’s buzz, but that would be a lazy reference to the acid movement. But I’ve done it anyway). This is perhaps the band at their finest. Hopefully this isn’t their zenith, but it’s going to be very interesting to see how many new followers will embrace the band, and for a group that both wear their influences on their sleeves but never try to be completely derivative, it’s an exciting time for the always bubbling psychedelic/prog-rock movement.
There is an aura and a feeling with the album that does befit the phrase “happening”. But I’ll still punch myself in the stomach for saying it.