As far as concept albums go, prolific Aussie septet King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard keep things pretty numeric. Last year’s ‘Quarters’ was a slow-burning lo-fi experiment where each of the four tracks were precisely ten minutes and ten seconds long. This time round, the group’s psychedelic trigonometry is pushed to further dimensions, with nine sides of blistering jams which literally never end. With demented howls, screeching blues harp, and rolling psych-rock riffs heavy enough to rip a hole in the time-space continuum, the album has no beginning or end and instead each track morphs seamlessly into the next and can be played in an infinite loop.
Within this psychedelic ouroboros of explosive space-rock jamming, recurring and mutating lyrical and musical motifs create a disorientating sense of nostalgia and spiralling deja-vu. The convulsive mantra “nonagon infinity opens the door” is repeated throughout, the roughly picked guitar line and horror organ combo of ‘People Vultures’ overflows into the next track, and the vocal melody of ‘Robot Stop’ is introduced as a raspy synth line in ‘Evil Death Roll’. Melodies and phrases are constantly circling back on themselves, while the fluid rhythms effortlessly alternate between 4/4, 7/8 and 9/8 timings.
In terms of atmosphere, the chugging riffs, rapid-fire drum attacks, and maniacal screams of tracks like ‘Evil Death Roll’ and ‘Robot Stop’ recalls Ty Segall’s stellar garage rock fuzz-fest ‘Slaughterhouse’. The sugar coated vocal refrains of tracks like ‘Mr Beat’ and ‘Invisible Face’, and the unpredictable chorus progression of ‘Gamma Knife’ brings some of the chordal and melodic complexity from King Gizzard’s previous record, the folk and jazz tinged ‘Papier Mache Dream Balloon’, but forces it into overdrive. The retro organ licks of ‘Mr Beat’ and downbeat jamming of ‘Wah Wah’ also add more cosmic dynamics.
Apparently not a linear progression from their experiments of last year but something which had been brewing over years of jamming and performances, this album may be the most fully realised portrayal of the group’s live show. But with lyrical themes ranging from neural radiation treatment in ‘Gamma Knife’, to the mechanical burnout of constant touring in ‘Robot Stop’, to insect sacrifice in ‘Big Fig Wasp’, all superimposed onto a high-octane psych-rock time-warp, there’s no indication these guys are going to let the weirdness stop flowing on record either.
‘Nonagon Infinity’ is out now via Heavenly Recordings, Flightless and ATO Records.
This King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard article was written by Tadgh Shiels, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.