The year 2017 will go down in history as The Year of The Gizz.
Australian’s mind-melting septet King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard fulfilled their promise of releasing five albums in the span of ten months. From the droning and otherworldly Flying Microtonal Banana to the feverish and animalistic Murder of the Universe, from the soothing and mellow Sketches of Brunswick East to the prehistoric desert space rock of Polygondwanaland, King Gizzard threw out surprises at every turn. Just before the end of the year, they dropped their final release of the five: Gumboot Soup. What a soup it is.
With King Gizzard, you never really know what to expect. On Gumboot Soup, we’re dealing with more of a song-oriented album rather than the concept-based predecessors. While not a B-side album per se, the songs do feel connected to the previous four albums of 2017, and it’s a real treat to hear the different and far-reaching King Gizzard styles one after the other.
From bass-led chill-out jams (“Beginner’s Luck”, “Barefoot Desert” “I’m Sleepin’ In”, “The Wheel”) to arid, scorching microtones (“Greenhouse Heat Death”, “All Is Known”), searing prog rock (“Muddy Water”) to slippery jazz (“The Last Oasis”, “Superposition”), oddball wonkiness (“Down the Sink”) to pulverizing stoner metal (“The Great Chain of Being” could be a Sleep track), the album gets better and better with each listen. Of course I always recommend listening straight through records, and this one is no different. The songs are so varied and cover so much ground that you pick something new up with every spin.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard find themselves at the top of their game after a breathless sprint of a year, with five top-quality albums of widely varying styles and concepts under their belt in the period that a lesser band might take to get one song done. In a way, Gumboot Soup is a perfect microcosm of their entire studio output for the year, all thrown into a steaming hot gumbo of crunchy psychedelia, graceful flute and guitar melodies, juicy, full bass and keys, and drums that live right in the pocket. It’s quite a way to end a prolific year, and I for one can’t wait to see where they head next.
Rating: 10 out of 10