The Australian psychedelic rock band King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard (who are promising to release five albums this year) have come out with an interesting mix of eastern influences as well as an apocalyptic feel, after their previous album Nonagon Infinity was more of a lighthearted garage punk album which introduced me to the band.
Flying Microtonal Banana takes the concept of using microtonalised instruments to give off a very middle eastern sound, conjuring up images of snake charming (as the music has a very similar rhythm and almost out of tune sound at times) which makes sense given the cover art for the album features someone charming a snake with their guitar, so I think they are definitely playing into that field (as well as their opening track being named Rattlesnake).
Also on the cover art, there are toxic fumes escaping the barrel the snake is situated in and the charmer is wearing a gas mask, giving connotations of a toxic wasteland – supported by the apocalyptic vibe of the song Nuclear Fusion with its hypnotic guitar rhythms and echoing deep vocals book-ending the track.
With this song as well as throughout the album, this eastern influenced/Indian inspired groove fits very well to King Gizzard’s alternative sound, giving it a different flavour adding something new to their music on top of the style they have established through their first seven albums where I believe they fully realised in Nonagon Infinity. I think this however may be their magnum opus, they have tapped into something special with this album, opening themselves up to new possibilities, with each song sounding different whilst incorporating this over arching theme.
This gives a new spin to songs like Billabong Valley, which sonically has a classic rock ‘n’ roll feel to it but the microtonal tuning makes it sound very idiosyncratic, as with the blues inspired Doom City, which has a quite peculiar yet original style because of the microtonalised instruments.
Overall, Flying Microtonal Banana is a fun experimentation that has worked incredibly well for a psychedelic garage album, which I believe has given it the edge over their previous record Nonagon Infinity where I had previously thought they had reached their peak with, but it took a bold and creative decision to beat that and I hope they make more creative decisions like this with their other four albums coming out later this year, so they can keep pushing the boundaries and constantly improving their material.
Favourite Songs: Billabong Valley, Nuclear Fusion, Doom City
Least Favourite: Anoxia