King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are attacking 2017 with real vigour, and have just released their second LP of the calendar year, the tremendous if confounding Murder of the Universe. A chaotic blend of garage rock tripping into quasi Black Sabbath territory, fused with a truly bonkers prog inclination, theirs is a live show not to be missed and here they have indulged themselves to a severe extent.
Murder… is essentially a three chapter, spoken word driven odyssey through the outer reaches of King Gizzard’s core sound, propelled by driving twin drummers and an abundance of guitars, this record is an onslaught, for better or worse. At best, it offers a giddy rush, at worst a dense, apocalyptic, spoken word based slog, offering little variation. When it does take flight this is something to behold.
The concept appears to be for the record to be driven by the spoken word aspect, where in reality it’s when this fades into the background, or out of view entirely, that this LP takes flight. What initially strikes as an inspired, if odd choice, begins to grate quite rapidly. At times, it’s a wearying listen, but there’s always a hook or flourish to lift the stupor. This is a band that makes a virtue out of repetition, returning to motifs and reinforcing them, introducing tiny nuances that make the difference, and this virtue remains present, if not as often as on some of their better records.
It’s disorienting, overwhelming but fascinating, perhaps an LP that does not stand up to sequential repeated listens, but one worthy of dipping back into on a more spaced out basis. Traditional frameworks of judgement simply cannot apply to this record. Relentlessly ambitious, at times utterly confusing, but always interesting, what’s sure is that the remaining three LPs from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard this calendar year are ones to be looked forward to.