Australian psychedelic rock group King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard released their 17th album, “L.W.” on Feb. 25, as the companion to their previous album, “K.G.”
Their new album was teased in December of last year with an animated music video for “If Not Now, Then When?” Two more music videos followed in January and February of 2021 for the tracks “O.N.E.” and “Pleura,” respectively.
As the third installment in their series of explorations into microtonal music, “L.W.” sees the group build upon their classic blend of heavy psych-rock with traditional Eastern music. This time around, the band displays a greater dynamic range in their compositions, with most tracks on the album going back and forth between quiet acoustic passages and distorted rock breaks.
“If Not Now, Then When?”
The opening track segues from their previous album’s ending track, “The Hungry Wolf of Fate,” making for a continuous experience between both records. The opener makes bleak comments on the state of the environment with lines like, “When the ocean’s coming up/when the rain just won’t stop,” contrasting against the energetic, indie-pop instrumental and the whispered high-pitched vocals.
The next track picks up the album’s energy, moving from its quiet, dreamy intro into charged psych-rock territory, while commenting on the dark side effects of a news-focused world. A standout song “Pleura” follows, picking up even more speed and dramatic tension. The track’s intro charges up suspense and unleashes into fast, riff-based rock interspersed with fantasy-inspired lyrics.
The group’s social commentary continues with “Supreme Ascendancy,” which jabs at abusive practices in organized religion. The song’s biting wit is perfectly stated with the chorus, “You’re not above the law, no matter your beliefs.” The science-fiction-inspired “Static Electricity” is supported by catchy vocal lines, world-music-inspired melodies and complex rhythmic work.
“East West Link”
This track comments on the environmental and social controversies with the development of the Australian highway bearing the same name. The album continues to explore deeper themes of introspection and self-doubt in the lyricism of tracks “Ataraxia” and “See Me.”
The album’s concluding song is a dark epic. It alludes to the opener of the previous album of the same name, bringing back the main melody to round out the listening experience. This epic, eight-minute closing track displays the group’s heavy rock and doom metal inspirations, weaving through different rhythms and distorted guitar riffs into a screeching halt.
With now 17 albums across a decade-long career, it is clear that King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard show no intentions of slowing down, even under lockdown. The group builds upon old concepts while still bringing new ideas to the table.