Review of Flying Microtonal Banana Album by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

On "Flying Microtonal Banana", King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard have created the soundtrack to the end of the Earth, or to that episode of The Magic Roundabout when Zebedee forgot to take his beta blockers and got munted on sugar lumps with Dougal in Marrakesh. Bands who produce nine albums in five years usually churn out their fair share of flatulent guff, but not the Gizz (pronounced with a hard 'g' sound btw) and certainly not on this album. Very much unlike a Hollywood actress' face, there's definitely no filler here.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Flying Microtonal Banana Album

Microtonal music is characteristic of Middle Eastern and North African sounds, dividing the octave into twenty-four intervals, rather than a conventional Western twelve. To the unaware, it can sound woozy and flat, like it's played by someone who's just eaten some cheese they found under the cooker. Melded with buzzing, bonce-busting Western psych-rock, propelled by the power of two drummers, it can start to twist your melons. This album is definitely best avoided if looking after small children or operating heavy machinery.

The opener "Rattlesnake" surges with hypnotic, frantic bass and drums that appear out of the same wuthering nuclear winter sounds that conclude the album. In between, they sing of drowning in the neurotic "Open Water", toxic air in the amped sashay "Melting" and absence of oxygen in "Anoxia". "Doom City" is ominously catchy and T-Rexy ('T'' standing for 'Turkish' here). Add in wailing zurna (Eastern horn) solos on several tracks, a kind of knackered bagpipe sound, and you have a heady mix. By the end, you'll be as likely to punch the air with exhilaration as head butt the wall in existential anguish. The only song that seems not to feature death, doom or both is the somnolent "Sleep Drifting", a soporific paean to the glorious act of not getting up, snoozing alongside a pleasant bedfellow. "Billabong Valley", with the effeminate vocals of their keys man, Ambrose Kenny Smith, would make a fine soundtrack to a movie, but what the hell that movie would look like, I can't begin to imagine.

Adopting the spirit of Thomas Edison's 'restlessness and discontent are the necessities of progress', this is the first of five albums due out in 2017. Quite where they go after this, genre-wise is anyone's guess, although I have a tenner down at 5000-1 with the bookies that it's a combo of Mongolian throat singing, Gregorian chants and Balinese opera.