I’m quickly running out of witty things to write when I introduce a new King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard record. It seems like every second week I’m sitting down writing about the prolific garage rocker’s new album, and even though I may sound bitter, there is no way that this is a bad thing. You see, it’s hard to be bitter about anything when you’ve got the light psych-pop tunes of King Gizzard’s ‘Paper Mâché Dream Balloon’ in your ear.
Following their early 2015 release ‘Quarters’, the Melbourne 7-piece divert on yet another completely different musical path, with a layered psych-pop and acoustic album. This comes after previous experiments into searing western movie style grooves, sitar driven psychedelic trip outs and pure ear-bleeding garage rock. It’s immediately clear when the lounge jazz styling of ‘Sense’ begin to play, that King Gizzard have managed to give the word ‘simple’, a whole new meaning. The band settles for light acoustic songs allowing their talent for making catchy and intricate melodies flare.
This record is characterised by the airy groove of songs like the title track and single ‘Paper Mâché Dream Balloon’, and the cheeriness of others such as ‘N.G.R.I (Bloodstain)’ with it’s incessant piano pounding. ‘Trapdoor’ however, is like the creepy theme for a house of horrors, with its pounding drive and haunting chants, but on an album that could be perceived as thin at times, it provides the perfect balance. Also leaning towards the darker side ‘The Bitter Boogie’ brings a brooding vibe to the album and provides a healthy dose of bluesy harmonica as we hear resident harmonica God Ambrose Kenny-Smith wail “I’m to bitter/to reconsider/my options twice/before I ask for your advice”.
Like a sweet biscuit trail leading up to a hut in the woods, the candy-like sounds of Stu Mackenzie’s flute leads the unsuspecting listener into a euphoric daydream. Mackenzie wields his mystical flute like a magician in almost every song on this album, including the sunny sounds of ‘Bone’ and ‘Dirt’, but nothing could possibly come close to the enchanting ‘Paper Mâché’. The album closer takes the listener on a subconscious ride, where they slowly begin to realise how clever and god damn catchy every single melody on this album is, as the flute seamlessly flows from the main melody of one song to the next in chronological order.
‘Paper Mâché Dream Balloon’ is just a feel good album. Catchy melodies, sweet flutes, dream balloons and trapdoors, and if that isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, I don’t know what is. We can rest easy though, because it won’t be long before we get another taste of that King Gizzard goodness. See you next week Gizz.
Score: 8 out of 10
Written by Ryan Durrington