Facts first. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are one of the most hard-working groups in Australia right now. I feel like a broken record repeating the oft-noted fact that I’m In Your Mind Fuzz is the groups 5th album in a little over 2 years, but if that doesn’t shock you, the fact that on their newest release the group has never been more skilled and prolific in their songwriting will. While some took the band’s previous record Oddments with a little less levity than the name and Vegemite-championing lead single should have encouraged, there’s no question that the ‘Gizz have barely committed a misstep in their neverending quest to write and record literally every song ever.
They’re as Australian as Vegemite mate. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have delivered their most accomplished album to date, so check out I’m In Your Mind Fuzz!
The first four tracks of I’m In Your Mind Fuzz are what I suspect to be the streamlined version of a highly productive jam for the band. Each track begins with that propulsive bass line that you heard on Cellophane, but as layers build and aesthetics emerge, each song winds up in a vastly different place to one another. While one takes a very Tarantino-esque surf rock turn, another leads us a markedly psychedelic direction. This quartet of compositions could easily be condensed into a 13-minute power move of an opener, but the decision to break them up makes for a fascinating method of opening the album and one hell of a way set the tone for the sprawling compositions to come.
King Gizz started their musical journey as a walk, which progressed into a run, and is now an all-out sprint down a hallway of unencumbered experimentation. I’m In Your Mind Fuzz is just another marker of how far down the rabbit hole the group has gotten, and as the listener, you have no choice but to try and keep up.
Like a fairground ride, there’s something about Mind Fuzz that feels rickety, unstable and thoroughly enjoyable all at once. It sounds as though it was recorded to tape and then played on a Walkman with dying batteries; guitar riffs wobble, vocals oscillate, drum lines crunch and tracks conclude with a perishing pitch and speed.
Instrumentally, there’s a lot to experience on here, whether it be the flute work in Empty, the raucous harmonica-toting rock and roll of Am I In Heaven or the wonky electric piano on Her and I (Slow Jam 2). The album is best experienced as a whole, with ideas and riffs melting and blending into one another across the tracklist. There was clearly no intention of this record being a collection of clean-cut 4 minute pop songs, and such freedom from those constraints gives rise to some of the most interesting and inventive compositions King Gizzard have crafted yet.
In terms of lyrics, you’ll really need to squint your ears to hear the message in Stu Mackenzie’s vocals. Under a sea of double-tracking, falsetto, vibrato, lo-fi production and a handful of effects, Stu’s voice is delightful, but is often close to undecipherable. You’ll be rewarded if you do listen closely, however; Mackenzie conjures up beautiful images with his lilting cadence, complimenting the instrumentation that swirls around him.
Whilst they’ve barely been in the public eye for three years, it’s already becoming hard to imagine Australian music without King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Their unrelenting creativity, experimentation and fondness for the bizarre makes them one of the most interesting bands in Australia right now, and a group that we should be proud to call our own. Who knows? They might one day become to us what the Bald Eagle is to Americans. On I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, the ‘Gizz have taken yet another step in the right direction; they come at you from all angles, luring the listener into their fanciful world, if only for 42 minutes.
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