There’s Always Money in The Flying Microtonal Banana Stand
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard cannot sit still. Just 10 months after their last album, Nonagon Infinity, the Australian group has released another album, Flying Microtonal Banana (and word on the street is they have five more album slated for 2017). So while we were all doing frivolous things–like “eating” or “sleeping”–these guys were in the studio recording some tasty licks. For some bands, slating six releases in the next twelve months might spread their inspiration thin, though after listening to Flying Microtonal Banana, it’s clear these guys are not watering down their music.
The album starts with its first single, “Rattlesnake.” The chugging rhythms and intensely catchy melodies is as gripping as anything on Nonagon Infinity. That said, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard don’t simple rehash the territory they’ve already toured. “Rattlesnake,” like most of Flying Microtonal Banana, is much more subdued than their previous release. Despite its mellower vibe, the song packs a wallop–starting the album with a bite (groan).
The next couple songs bounce between genres like a well paddled pinball. “Melting” is a psych-tinged lounge jazz romp, and “Open Water” is a garage-y freak out complete with Middle Eastern tonalities. Speaking of non-Western tonalities, the album found its name through the additional frets the band installed on their guitars–allowing them to play semi- and quarter-tones, a feature found commonly in Indian and Turkish musics.
But not everything is experimental tones. “Sleep Drifter” is a straightforward indie pop ballad. The song features upper register vocal melodies–a technique the band doesn’t utilize quite enough–and a grimy but dreamy lead. “Sleep Drifter” drifter acts as a nice counterpoint to the album’s heavier tracks like “Open Water” or “Anoxia.”
Flying Microtonal Banana is filled to the brim with tasty riffs–from the raunchiest to the more ethereal. And the combination of styles (both in terms of riffage and worldly tones) gives the album a nice eclectic feel. That said, all the songs on Flying Microtonal Banana fit squarely within King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s sound.
The album ends with its title track. “Flying Microtonal Banana” is out there in the best of ways. Beginning with a hand-drum rhythm and a feast of quarter-tones, “Flying Microtonal Banana” is the psychedelic morsel 2017 has been aching for. Just under three minutes, the ending track ties up Flying Microtonal Banana perfectly.
While this new album doesn’t have the heated energy of Nonagon Infinity, it replaces this energy with a mesmerizing swirl of tonal gymnastics. While King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s Flying Microtonal Banana‘s title is longer than a few William Carlos Williams poems, it kicks with all the intensity of the Patterson poet. And if this record isn’t your jam, wait a few minutes and these guys will have another record for you to plug into.