King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are known for producing an inordinate number of albums (with four in 2017 alone), but the band prove they still have much more to offer the world of psychedelic rock, with some awesome microtonal beats and riffs that feel like love letters to previous albums. Alex Tearle reviews…
This album is one of the most cohesive packages in the King Gizzard discography; a fantastic LP that feels lovingly put together by the group. This album feels like a taster menu of what King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard are all about, covering an impossibly huge number of genres and styles over the course of the record. This said, not since ‘I’m in Your Mind Fuzz’ has a King Gizzard album held a theme so well, creating a fantastic overall package that feels strong and complete. ‘Omnium Gatherum’ is an absolute treat; a record that manages to portray almost every single emotion with poise, something the band has really struggled with in the past.
Where records like ‘Infest The Rats’ Nest’ felt a little two tone, this album is a far more confident and exciting project, a continuation in style of the excellent ‘Butterfly 3000′ that still feels different, borrowing some of the best parts of the band’s other records. ‘Omnium Gatherum’ has some of the fantastic heavy rock sections of ‘Infest The Rats’ Nest’, some of the unique microtonal sections of ‘KG and LW’, the jokey and upbeat style of ‘Fishing for Fishies’ and the otherworldly supernatural feel of ‘Nonagon Infinity’. The record can be relaxing, uplifting, exciting and pioneering, with so many styles there’s undoubtedly a song for fans of quite literally any genre of music. Only King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard would attempt such a bizarre and varied range of styles, and only these guys could nail absolutely every single one.
The crossfades in this album are a thing of beauty too, combining songs that feel completely different perfectly, with the album feeling like a strong package despite its many influences.
So many records and so many different styles
I have heard some fans mutter that this record could be “too mainstream” and as if the band have “sold out”, but I’d argue that this isn’t the case at all. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard can be quite daunting to get into, with so many records and so many different styles, and some tracks that stretch way beyond ten minutes in length. ‘Omnium Gatherum’ does initially feel a bit unapproachable; a strange band with an album title that means nothing to most people, something I think could put off new fans immediately.
Seriously impressive talent
This album is a great introduction to the band though. If you’re a fan of Magenta Mountain then you might really enjoy ‘Butterfly 3000′, or if Gaia is more your speed, you may really like Robot Stop or Mars for the Rich. This album has a little part of almost every prior King Gizzard album hidden within it, portraying ‘Omnium Gatherum’ as a musical prodigy, with seriously impressive talent behind each track. I would however note that the more popular tracks have reached a wider audience for good reason, offering up some more catchy singles that allow wider access to a band some could see as too strange.
This is an exceptionally long album at an hour and 20 minutes in length, but features some really excellent tracks that ensure the ride never feels boring. The band return to some of their more tested ideas with songs like Kepler-22b and Blame It On The Weather, though these tracks are still thoroughly enjoyable, and don’t feel redundant or overplayed in any way. Some new styles are attempted with Sadie Sorceress and The Grim Reaper, focusing a bit more on drum beats and a far faster, flowy style of lyrics almost like 90’s hip-hop; a new direction for the band that feels satisfying and is done with relative success here.
This record also prominently features some brilliant and classic King Gizzard styles though, particularly with the exceptional Evilest Man and Persistence, two absolute highlights that, though familiar, are an auditory delight. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard love to include a track where one phrase is repeated (Cellophane and Rattlesnake as two of the more obvious examples), but Persistence is so silky and smooth that I almost didn’t notice how many times the titular phrase was mentioned.
Another highlight is the 18-minute opener The Dripping Tap, a real journey that feels like an entire album condensed, with some really great guitar work around the four-minute mark, and Gizz classic whoops- an upbeat and unique experience. It’s unusual for a King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard track to be something to particularly sing along to, but I can’t help but hum “Drip, drip from the tap / don’t slip” every time I hear the record- a testament to how fun and pioneering this album can be. So many instruments are used here, from a gong in the background of The Dripping Tap, to pan pipes, harmonicas, and classic electric guitars- an immense range of musical talent that proves how impressive and diverse King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard are.
It tries just a few too many things
This album isn’t always perfect though. The tonal shift between Grim Reaper and Presumptuous is incredibly jarring, suggesting that the band have not fully mastered the promising mixing of the first half of the album, a real shame considering how gorgeously the first half of the album flows. The record also attempts so many things, that long time fans will undoubtedly find something they don’t like, with King Gizzard just trying too many different ideas here. This isn’t to say the record doesn’t feel like a cohesive package, more that it tries just a few too many things, and I would have enjoyed the record more if it were split into two distinct albums. This would have also helped the issue of the album’s almost laughable runtime. I would like to sit down and listen to this album as a whole package, but rarely have a spare 90 minutes to listen to the entire thing- a disappointment considering how great the record sounds.
This is a fantastic project, a great example of what makes King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard such a cult classic. Don’t be put off by some of the downright bizarre and unusual influences; this record is more accessible than it looks, and really feels like an absolute journey to listen to. Start with Evilest Man and Magenta Mountain, and maybe you’ll find yourself listening to tracks with names like Vomit Coffin in no time. This is a great addition to the Gizzverse, an album I’ll be listening to for a long time.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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