King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Butterfly 3000
King Gizzard seem intent on stamping their brand on every musical genre—and doing so in record time. The Australian collective comes across like an Olympic athlete attempting shot-put with one hand and archery with the other, all while riding on horseback. It’s admirable to watch these guys jump around, but it’s also exhausting—especially when the stylistic shifts happen in such rapid-fire succession. Butterfly 3000 is their 18th full-length album in just shy of nine years, and, since 2019, they’ve moved from glammy, boogie-psych (Fishing for Fishies) to thrash-y stoner-metal (Infest the Rats’ Nest) to a pair of explorations into microtonal tuning (K.G. and L.W.). During the early months of the pandemic, with their rehearsal space and studio off limits, they were forced to experiment out of necessity. Led, as usual, by chief songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Stu Mackenzie, the group hunkered down on modular synthesizers, which pushed them out of their comfort zone—and toward a loose vision of major-key dance music. The result: their most satisfying, organic-sounding song cycle since at least 2017’s Polygondwanaland. (In Gizz time, that may as well be two decades.) They honored their original goal too, creating their own dizzying form of upbeat, hook-oriented music that often nods to post-Kid A Radiohead (“Dreams”), vintage krautrock (“Yours”) and Tame Impala’s recent foray into groove (“Shanghai”)—all with a druggy smile plastered on top. Electric guitars are largely tabled, and the arrangements are pared down to sequenced synth patterns, fuzz bass, acoustic riffs, falsetto-cooed vocals and Michael Cavanagh’s booming drums. The high lasts through all 10 songs, but the peak hits during the dance-rock crescendo of “2.02 Killer Year,” with synths darting like laser beams.