King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Fishing for Fishies

Ryan Reed on May 13, 2019
King Gizzard  & the Lizard Wizard: Fishing for Fishies

If these deliriously ambitious Australian psych-rockers decided to retire in their late twenties, then they’d leave behind the sort of dizzyingly dense catalog that most bands take decades to amass—if they ever do at all. Since emerging in 2010, the Melbourne collective has churned
out 13 albums and two EPs—a Zappa-like prolificacy that would suggest a lack of discipline if the quality of their songs was not so consistent. And while the “psych” tag works as a vague catchall for their experimental ethos, it doesn’t capture the breadth of their work, which voyages into full-blown prog, jazz-fusion, folk, soul and even unironic heavy-metal. After a breakneck run of five albums in 2017— Flying Microtonal Banana, Murder of the Universe, Sketches of Brunswick East, Polygondwanaland, Gumboot Soup —they earned themselves a damn vacation. Instead, they’re back barely over a year later with their 14th record, Fishing for Fishies —a blur of warped funhouse boogie-rock. At first, it’s tempting to view this approach as dumbing themselves down—a playful lark to keep fans satiated until their next prog opus. But King Gizzard, even in a somewhat scaled-back blues mode, are still full of surprises: “Plastic Boogie,” one of many cuts propelled by Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s honking harmonica, pairs a ZZ Top-worthy biker bar riff with a bouncing, Beatles-y bridge; “This Thing” builds from stomping blues to revved-up kraut-rock; and vocoderheavy closer “Cyboogie,” with its mechanical vocal and swampy riff, lands somewhere between the marsh and the discotheque.