Album Review: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard played their new album live in its entirety at Northcote Social Club a couple of months back. Reviewing the gig for SYN, William Balme said, “Opening the album is “Head On/Pill”, a 16-minute epic that perfectly illustrates their progression from raucous Aussie rock to a more seasoned experimental act”.Having listened to the album myself, I couldn’t agree more with how William described the band’s transformation. While the layers of distorted noise return for their third album Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, the band take a sharp left turn in their style by bumping up their musical inventiveness.The studio version of “Head On/Pill” begins with a characteristically raspy guitar riff, before a Sitar uncharacteristically joins in for an extended intro. The result, after Stu Mackenzie’s heavily effected vocals join in, is a dream-like concoction of 60s-influenced psychedelia and an Indian raga, which abruptly turns into “Hava Nagila” complete with surf rock guitar. To see it live must have been something glorious, and the length of the track should really be 17 minutes if you count the one you need at the end to take in all you’ve heard.The next six tracks on the album are generally under four minutes, and they seem to go by in a flash compared to “Head On/Pill”. The hum of the sitar stays on, however, and each song has its musical merits: “I’m Not A Man Unless I Have A Woman” sounds like one of Led Zeppelin’s early offerings; the simple beat and descending guitar notes on “Pop In My Step” are calming to listen to; a space-themed electric piano reintroduces the Indian theme on “30 Past 7”; and the guitar-and-drum noise reaches an experimental climax on “God Is Calling Me Back Home”. The title track closes the album and is an unofficial reprise of “Head On/Pill”. The dual melodies of the fuzzy guitars and sitar return as Mackenzie’s vocals (cleaner this time) drift on warmly above, a fitting way to end the album.King Gizzard have tested the limits of their creative powers to great effect on “Float Along – Fill your lungs”, and it will be interesting to see where their musical journey as a band takes them next. If the swiftness with which this band churns out new material — this is their third release in the last 12 months — is anything to go by, we won’t have to wait long to find out.by Alexander Darling

October 28th 2013
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