Album Review- Fishing for Fishies by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
by Jackson Rhodes
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, an Australian psychedelic rock band formed in 2010 and fronted by Stu Mackenzie, return after a year-long hiatus with a cohesive and sonically radical new album, Fishing for Fishies.
The Gizz announced at the beginning of 2017 that they would release five studio albums throughout the course of the year; Mackenzie elaborated that “We had this random batch of songs. It was not a cohesive record at all. So we thought we’d split it up, and split again until it became five.” Flying Microtonal Banana, Murder of the Universe, Sketches of Brunswick East, and Polygondwanaland were released, concluding on December 31, 2017 with the release of Gumboot Soup. Although an exciting idea which produced gems like Flying Microtonal Banana and Polygondwanaland, the rate of album releases surpassing even Brockhampton was bound to birth some half-baked and rushed ideas (looking at you, Sketches of Brunswick East). It’s a credit to the band that quality was retained through the mass of quantity pushed into 2017, validating their hiatus through 2018. With the new release of Fishing for Fishies after just a year and few months from Gumboot Soup, the lack of Gizz content versus 2017’s prolific output makes the hiatus feel more like a decade.
If there’s one thing in common between Death Grips and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, it’s a hatred of a stagnant instrumental palate. Previous works like Nonagon Infinity boast instruments as strange as the Zurna: Fishing for Fishies laughs at that and uses vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, mellotron, piano, synthesizer, organ, bass, flute, drums, vibraphone, drums, percussion, and a harmonica to create a catchy, irresistible psychedelic blues-rock sound that boogies like nothing has ever boogied before. In a similar kooky charm to Bill Wurtz or hokiness of T. Rex, King Gizzard’s leading harmonica lines and quality drumming throughout the record create an enrapturing boogie. I mean, this thing’s got boogie. There should be a warning on the album cover that, upon starting the album, your body will be paralyzed into the boogie until the final track fades away. If there’s one thing I can’t emphasize enough, it’s that if you listen to this album, the boogie shall be within you.
Fishing for Fishies is an indication of what the Gizz can do if they allow themselves the time to do it. Songs like “This Thing” and “Acarine” methodically morph throughout their durations, easing transitions through introductions of varied instruments; “This Thing” in particular switches up the beat so much Travis Scott should be punching the air out of jealousy. While I’m talking about it, “Acarine” is an example of the environmental theme throughout the record, bringing to light the acarine disease that mortally handicaps bees’ ability to fly (and makes it psychedelic). “Plastic Boogie”, while instrumentally still an undeniable boogie, spreads the boogie into blunt lyricism, where Stu Mackenzie sings “It’s not fantastic/It’s gonna come and kill us/It’s gonna be massive/It’s gonna be brutal/Death will come from plastic/Death will come from people”.
Is this record a great album throughout? Absolutely not. “Cyboogie”, despite the boogie still being present, lies too flat in its electronic production, an unnecessary direction for the bluesy record. You could consequently say that “Cyboogie”, despite its annoying qualities, is a welcome point of variance from eight other songs that sound interchangeable in the tracklist. However, you gotta love this thing for what it is. If you need some well-crafted boogie, buddy do I have something to show you.