King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Quarters! - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Quarters!

by Ian Fraser Rating:7 Release Date:2015-05-25

Well, 'Quarters' it says on the tin and that, dear reader, is exactly what you get. Each track on this, the latest outing from Melbourne, Oz’s farthest-out psych--rocking combo, weighs in at exactly 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Neat, eh?

Ah, that’s all very well, I hear you say, but what does it sound like? Well, pretty wonderful in places, seeing as you ask. Coming on like a cross between a jazzed-up version of Antipodean cousins Pond and Frank Zappa circa turn of the 1970s, 'The River' sets the template for an experimental and pretty dextrous erm… quartet of almost danceable grooves, with whiffs of Santana chucked in to give the party a distinctly summery-sounding vibe.

The sweet sting is a surprising coda of harmonica over smouldering guitar. Such is the Latino-lite vein with hooks as catchy as barbed wire that, blimey, I just caught meself banging two old drinks cans together while roughly impersonating a dancing person. That good, eh? Hmm.

'Infinite Rise' is punctuated by Hawkwind-style runway synths and farmyard animal noises, but is light and airy in a Zappa-meets-Unknown Mortal Orchestra mash-up way, topped some imaginative guitar playing. The UMO comparison extends to 'God is in the Rhythm', but then so does Led Zeppelin’s 'D’Yer Maker', which may or not be a good thing. Probably not. Hard to tell at this point whether they are merely having a laugh and, if so, at whose expense. As with the rest of the album, though, they keep darting down different paths and alleyways and come back with new-found ideas, some of which are interesting, but this is the one that stretches my patience a bit, cranky old scrote that I am these days.

Thankfully, 'Lonely Steel Sheet Flyer' is right back on my own peculiar wavelength, that playful pop-psych pastiche beloved of The Mothers underpinned and overlaid by more intricate and subversive patterns, and one of the most gorgeous and crystal clear psychedelic guitar runs heard by these ears since Jerry Garcia bade his corporeal adieu. This, boys and girls, is the kit, really it is.

All a bit wacky, then, but, as the precision timing of each tracks suggests, rather more controlled that the band’s image might have you believe. The 4x10.10 allows the band plenty of time and air to indulge in different textures and styles, which make for interesting repeat listens and when it works, as on the bookend first and fourth tracks, it pretty much hits bulls-eye.

Wouldn’t it be good then to give the 10:10 a mythical 10/10? Well, unfortunately, the filler in the sandwich has you picking out the gherkins and other bits that you’d rather they hadn’t put in, so I can’t and I won’t. Nice aftertaste though and I’m going back for second dibs.

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They were playing in Sydney last week but unfortunately I missed it. Good job at unravelling those influences Ian.

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