Flying Microtonal Banana by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizards
The psych-rock septet graced us with their ninth studio album this month. While staying true to their sound with lo-fi vocals and hypnotic guitars, Flying Microtonal Banana is also a rich fusion of Eastern influences, an album filled with complexity. From hand drumming techniques to Turkish horns that could charm a Boa Constrictor, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard did good.
The 41 minute long record is a journey. The tracks span in length, starting at a mighty seven minutes and finishing at a comparatively measly two. Within these longer tracks are drawn out, heavily instrumental sections- a real opportunity to focus on the band’s mastery of layering. The album as a whole seems to be a medley of genres loosely connected through a few repeated melodies. Kicked off by ‘Rattlesnake’, a motorik homage to the intense guitar riffing of the 60s, the album finds variety in tracks like ‘Melting’, which have a more defined Acid Jazz thread running through them with the presence of layered, tinny percussion. This layering is a result of the band’s customised ‘microtonal’ guitars, whose added frets enable them to play double the amount of notes- whilst also accounting for the name of the record.
Salient melodies used in ‘Rattlesnake’ crop up throughout the album, appearing slightly modified in tracks like ‘Nuclear Fusion’ and ‘Doom City’. For me, this gave a sense of unity in an other wise experimental and sprawling record, and was a testament to the strength of songs which have a relationship and build on each other’s motifs. However, the tracks that did share this commonality at times seemed to merge into one, meaning perhaps it was overdone.
Overall, Flying Microtonal Banana stands apart from the relentless sound of Nonagon Infinity and the etherealness of Oddments; it is something innovative, dexterous, and infectious.