King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

by James Gerard Rating:8 Release Date:2017-11-24
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

From the start, King Gizzard has personified the grand tradition of ‘prog’; wearing the excess and indulgence of the under-appreciated genre squarely on their collective sleeves for all to see.  From their ‘prolific’ writing and recording (the band has 12 full lengths over the past five years) to their explosive, somewhat eccentric live performances (frontman Stu Mackenzie wields guitars, sitars and even the occasional flute onstage), the band has carved out quite the niche for themselves.  Polygondwanaland, the fourth of five planned albums for 2017, is every bit the throwback prog workout one might expect from looking at the visually arresting album cover.  

Opening with the ten-minute epic “Crumbling Castle”, it’s clear from the start that Polygondwanaland is going to find the band mining the depths of 70’s prog and psychadelica, as the song immediately evokes shades of everything from Red-era Crimson to Zappa's Mothers of Invention.  Meanwhile, the album’s folk-tinged title track and synth-laden “Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet” show off the band’s penchant for genre-bending to great effect.

While jarring transitions and sensory overload are clearly this band’s wheelhouse, it’s where they hammer away at a single musical theme (like with the understated “Inner Cell”, and the appropriately titled “Searching”) that the band’s music really packs a punch.  The album’s second epic, the tripped-out jamfest that is “The Fourth Colour” sufficiently bookends what is an impressively coherent album (especially given the band’s otherwise prolific tendencies).

But what might be the best part of this release is the band’s implicit instructions that accompany it:  Polygondwanaland is a free record in every sense of the word.  They not only encourage you to download the record, but also give you all of the tools you would need to make your own physical copies and even suggest that if you’ve ever thought about starting your own record label, Polygondwanaland would make a great first release.  (For more information go to http://kinggizzardandthelizardwizard.com)

Over the course of the Polygondwanaland’s ten tracks, King Gizzard manages to stroll down just about every avenue of rock, jamming without ever feeling like a ‘jam band’, noodling without ever feeling like a ‘wank-fest’, rocking without ever coming across as ‘aggro’; truly, it’s quite impressive.  If psychedelic-prog is of any interest to you at all, then this record is a no-brainer.  But irregardless, the creativity behind the release of Polygondwanaland deserves notice; the fact that this is actually an amazing prog album is merely icing on the cake.

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