Everyone knows how hard it is for an artist or band to create and release a cohesive and intricate album within a short period of time. It is easily observable that there’s always a maturation period as well as a rather big break between album releases – most commonly a 2-year break – due to creative struggles.
Music binge-consuming and the necessity to stay relevant whilst attracting new audience members sometimes causes musical complexity to get lost throughout the composition process. The result might get stuck in one’s head, but it doesn’t exactly mean it touches one’s heart. The released singles are normally catchy, but in some cases, there’s not much dimension or depth to them.
This is when the Australian Psych-Rock group King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard enters this narrative. With an already pretty large discography of 8 albums released between 2012 and 2016, they set out a big (and risky) goal for 2017: Releasing 5 new LP’s in one single year. So far, they have released 4 of them. But how would this compromise the quality of their work? Not how you’d expect.
This band is already known for always bringing something new to the table with every single one of their albums, such as playing around with song lengths (Quarters) or perfectly infinite loops (Nonagon Infinity). In addition, there’s also kind of a thematic connection between albums like I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, Nonagon Infinity, and two of their newer LP releases, Murder of the Universe and Polygondwanaland.
Despite the absurd variety in style present in their body of work, it is impossible not to know that it is, in fact, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard playing. Funnily enough, this remains true for their 2017 releases. Their 4 new albums are complex and still keep their usual variety and quality. They play around with microtonal tuning on Flying Microtonal Banana, with spoken-word passages on the prog-rock album Murder of the Universe, with jazz fusion on Sketches of Brunswick East (with fellow band Mild High Club), and with the music industry itself when they decided to release Polygondwanaland for free, another sort of psychedelic prog-rock creation that is basically another surreal story being told with seamless flow.
As if coming up with 4 albums in one year wasn’t already enough, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are not willing to break the promise of releasing 5 full LP’s. So far, they have shared 4 new tracks from what is going to be the cherry on top of this 2017 adventure, even though it will be a collection of unreleased songs from previous work, much like Oddments was. They are well on their way to actually completing that sort of bucket-list they set out for this year.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are proof that with enough ambition and creativity, the goal of creating a big and bold body of work is achievable, without losing personality or essence. They keep taking risks, and it surely works for them. As for us, the audience, we’ll just watch out for what is coming next not only from this band but from the rest of the industry when it comes to juggling quality with quantity.