“Omnium Gatherum” is an enigma: a purse of all things, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s dizzying double album will leave listeners picking their favorites and forgetting the rest.
‘Omnium Gatherum’ – King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
Land let’s just sum it up in the first sentence: if KGLW was the spiritual successor of Flying microtonal bananaso Omnium Gatherum is Gumboot Soup, vol. II and III. Only this time, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard didn’t jump at the chance to snap it in half, with Jim Ross as a witness.
The six pieces themselves are memory masters and said humans laugh to death. Hell, their emoji-laden tracklist tweet only showed one group still likely to joke and joke around with their rabid following, the Gator Gang. But don’t let the memes inside and outside of this band’s work distract us from the fact that album twenty functions as a greatest hits album. Or it’s structured to be, at the very least. It covers everything from AnCo-infused electro, Tullite jazz fusion, Mastodontic thrash metal, Toro y Gizz lo-fi chillwave and beastly boutique hip-hop. That’s right, hip hop. But we will discuss that later.
For now, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are masters of the ad hoc album. Expansion Soup with gummies approach means there’s no real sore spot that the album keeps pushing on. There is no singular sound that could annoy listeners the way microtonality could. KGLW. However, there is something to be said for how these two double albums and their different approaches received different results, starting with KGLW. The double trouble LP was released in two volumes pressed like a deep tissue massage. Like theirs physical graffiti or exile on the main street, KGLW completely integrated a concept of sonic definition (non-Western instruments and scales into their repertoire) to as much of their musicality as possible.
Similar to what the Castle Trilogy played during their 7-piece run (I’m on your mind Fuzz, Infinite Nonagon, and Polygondwanaland) KGLW donned a central thematic and sonic return of King Gizzard and the Lizard that worked following the departure of Eric Moore as co-drummer. Since then the band have struggled to define what their sound could be as they have taken an open approach to electronica on the bright but flawed Butterfly 3000 and exit dead on launch Made in the land of time. Their recent explorations for viable additions to the setlist show a band aiming to develop new sonic wrinkles that mostly bypass microtonal or polyrhythmic tricks.
Listen to: “Magenta Mountain– King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
“magenta mountain” settles in this updated indietronica on Butterfly 3000. The mystical aesthetic of the main organ melody (as if a synthesizer is taking a reed organ and stretching each note) combines with McKenzie’s throbbing drums and Delphic vocals and Kenny-Smithy’s veiled choral flourishes. Overall, the lavish piece challenges King Gizzard’s most recognizable song, similar to how popular consciousness placed the lavish “Hunnybee” on the crown of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. As a result, everything else recorded is measured by its brilliant redness. And while a fair deal doesn’t shine, there are still some serious highlights.
The awesome”Kepler-22bmixes soul, jazz and hip-hop in an exoplanetary rhapsody. Sampling “Yemaya One” from Melburnian jazz pianist Barney McCall for lead piano and pairing it with Cook Craig’s bass and synth work, McKenzie’s Mellotron and Michael Cavanaugh’s inner Questlove behind the kit. In total, the group brings to life a requiem for an astronaut locked in the earth dreaming of life after Mars.
Meanwhile, Joey Walker contributes “Ambergris», a lo-fi pamphlet of neo-psychedelic soul with various keyboards, organs and funky riffs. All the while he twists the words into smoky stanzas and steamy verses. Rarely do the words anthropomorphize, dominate, and imperative litter the sonic world of neo-psych and chill.
It’s only “Sadie Witch” that the band finally breaks out the crushing hip-hop percussion and organ melody of Herbie Hancock. Teasing Tom Jones’ “I’m Coming Home” before committing to the turntable, the band even find time to fit in healthily, with a chorus cameo from Ambrose’s own opera-trained grandmother. Kenny-Smith (and a cheeky “Hello love, how are you?”).
In truly eclectic fashion, the bands take the first step in a centuries-old trajectory for the King Gizzard Canon:
- Introducing new sonic possibilities on omnibus recording
- Establish a possibility on a targeted folder
b. Explore other possibilities on targeted records
- Combine newly established sound profiles with classic musicality
- Rinse and repeat.
Everything about the cut speaks to this band’s incredible technical skill, as well as their ability to generate musicality from unlikely angles. But anyone introduced to the group via this quartet will likely find songs like “The most evil man,” “Gaia,” or “The dripping faucet“untenable.
“Sadie Witch– King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
There’s no beating around the bush on “Evilest Man.” It exists in the form of a tonic concoction of Paper mache dream balloon, Fish Fishing, and Butterfly 3000. The powerful synthesis fills a narrative around the desperation of disinformation peddled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch. “Gaia” borders on the typical with an approachable brand of mastodon thrash metal. McKenzie doesn’t quite have the same compact demonic vocals as Troy Sanders – McKenzie still has an intensely melodic vocalization – but the band’s approach is still more inviting. They don’t immediately blast listeners with all the riffs, drums and bass at once, rather letting everyone have their moment.
For lovers of classic King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, “Dripping Tap” is the setting to discuss.
Derived from spin-off jams with their Tropical Fuck Storm contemporaries, the line-up promised big things when first released. And on first listen, it sounds like more effort has gone into this juggernaut than the second half of the record combined. The first twelve minutes all combine into a recurring garage rock engagement with touches of I’m on your mind Fuzz and Fish fishing before moving on to the motorik choir of the second section.
Despite the ever-relevant environmentalist lyricism and the last rowdy refrain (“Drip, drip from the tap, don’t slip on the drip!“), his routine just seems bloated and boring by the arrival of “Magenta Mountain” and reveals how old-fashioned that sound has become since the garage rock revival of the early 2010s. Additionally, the first half of the double album from “Magenta Mountain” to “Evilest Man” has enough personality to withstand its tough 18-minute, 17-second runtime.
Even with apprehensions towards the unnecessarily long “Dripping Tap”, the first seven tracks of Omnium Gatherum wrap yourself up with the band’s early garage-mania era with enough flavors of metal, electro, neo-psychedelia, jazz fusion and soul. The second half of the album feels either out of place or just spinning.
“Kepler-22b– King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
The simple production of the album begins to produce diminishing returns. Hip-hop tracks feature classic snare and hi-hat percussion, metal tracks step and shred as intended, and Joey Walker lends sultry lo-fi vocals where needed, but nothing on the recording feels out of place, just standard. . And if we use “standard” to describe a King Gizzard double record, something is wrong.
Additionally, the songwriting surprises suffer from flat mixing, out of place additions, and more diminishing returns. Bake Craig’s”garden goblin” may make the fools laugh with the requisite tea and cashmere carnival, but it’s a Barrettian B-side more appropriate for a Pipe-eye record. Same “The weather’s fault‘, replete with some of Walker’s best riffs on the record, sounds more like a transposed cut from the upcoming Murlocs record. second cut just doesn’t do much, staying on a railroad beat and featuring only a truncated synthesizer break.
Not until “reaperflips the script with a Heinz Funk flute sample, Walker’s deadly bağlama, and laser-dot synthesizer breathes new life into the album for the eardrums. It is followed by “Presumptuousa combination of Santana and Jethro Tull from the late ’60s and the first full-length song since “Evilest Man.” Joey Walker takes out the lead flute, while McKenzie, Kenny-Smith and Cook Craig all spin on the organs. McKenzie also brings together some of his best guitar and bass work on this cut as Kenny-Smith gives the vocals some real feel-good. It’s a fitting final track, but by its start most listeners will have been sated.
The Lizard Wizards just don’t know when to stop and that results in four mediocre tracks that drain while not really delivering any real sonic revelations. If the whole album had been an attempt to incorporate krautrock or hi-fi neo-psychedelia as a guiding thread, then maybe there would have been more aw/h at the y. Instead, attention deficit riddled the second half of Omnium Gatherum finds it difficult to focus group efforts or find time to find a rhythm to stick to. At 20 albums in their 11-year career, no one would blame them for cutting production or increasing quality checks and favoring material more carefully because old stuff is given a luxury of time.
But if they did that, they wouldn’t be King Gizzard and the Lizard Sorcerer anymore.
:: flow/purchase Collecting the Omnium here ::
‘Omnium Gatherum’ – King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
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