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Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava

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Having assembled full working instrumentals from these jams, Mackenzie and his bandmates began overdubbing flute, organ, percussion and extra guitar over the top. The lyrics, meanwhile, were a group effort. “We had an editable Google Sheet that we were all working on,” says Mackenzie. “Most of the guys in the band wrote a lot of the lyrics, and it was my job to arrange it all and piece it together.”

The result of this radical, experimental creative process is one of the densest, most unpredictable statements from a band whose work always rockets in from unexpected angles accompanied by a wealth of subtext and theorems. But you don’t even need even a passing understanding of those Ancient Greek musical modes to appreciate this adventurous new music. Highlights include ‘Lava’, a suite of pure fire music that swings between spiritual jazz and new age visions, powered by psychedelic saxophones, shimmering cymbals and McCoy Tyner-esque pianos, and the wormhole-riding prog-folk excursions of ‘Magma’, which leads unsuspecting listeners into unfamiliar realms via the siren call of Mackenzie’s flute, while ‘Ice V’ delivers apocalyptic funk with a cool hand at the controls, ‘Hell’s Itch’ hypnotises with its coiling guitar lines, hard honking harmonica and polymorphic basslines, and the ever-shifting ‘Iron Lung’ follows the choppy grooves of its happy/sad songcraft through unexpected twists and turns, a vision of pop refracted through a house of mirrors. Sinister closer Gliese 710, meanwhile, pushes ever onwards into the darkness, its lumbering-but-lithe heaviosity enough to get corpses to nod their heads.

Released: November 2022 
Label: KGLW



LP1 – Side 1
1. Mycelium
2. Ice V
LP 1 – Side 2
1. Magma
2. Lava
LP 2 – Side 1
1. Hell’s Itch
LP 2 – Side 2
1. Iron Lung
2. Gliese 710

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Jon Aymes
Dynamic jams with an underlying concept

On the surface and with no context, this is a tight-but-loose, lengthy album of jammy material. Known for being able to produce high-concept albums that span sci-fi realms and music theory wizardry, it's refreshing that King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard can also tone it down and let improvisation flow. They've captured the vibe of six musicians coming together with a shared goal I mind, and retained the fresh feeling of composing on the move that doesn't always survive the demo stage.

It's an enjoyable album if that's all you know about it, but as with everything they do it becomes more interesting if we go a little deeper. Approaching the recording of the album, the band had very little material to go on with. They established 7 song titles, with a tempo and key based on Greek modes for each piece, but no preconceived riffs or melodies. Hitting the studio for a week, they spent each day recording ideas for each song. Then, Stu Mackenzie took to arranging and rearranging the ideas into cohesive songs, with overdubs and vocals added later. That gets us to why the album sounds consistently fresh and light.

As for the lyrics, each band member adopted a totem relating to the album title. This is the most collaborative they've been with lyrics, with all members pitching in. The variety of input adds to the broad atmosphere of the album, some lyrics cut like a knife, some put a silly smile on your face. The links to a snake eating its tail in the song Lava sent me down a rabbit hole of researching the Ouroboros for a while. The boys still have that knack of effortlessly making you curious about whatever cultural/scientific/historical/religious subject they reference. Speaking of, there's plenty to dig into across the album if that's what you're into.

For an album so steeped in musicianship and theory, it has no business sounding as casual and fluffy as it does at times. And that's the magic of the album! Even the biggest music theory boffin would be able to get lost in the moment and stop analysing it. It's a true testament to how far the band have come with their abilities to create unique sounding albums.

For my personal highlights, Lava is beautifully meditative, with a slow but constant rise in energy throughout. Ice V is belligerent in making you want to dance. Mycelium is the pure sort of fun usually reserved for an energetic puppy with its favourite toy.

A deceptively nourishing album that could easily be mistaken for a snack.