KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - SKETCHES OF BRUNSWICK EAST LP
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You can only go so far if you play into your psych-rock trappings. You get some dizzying vocals, strange guitar pedal melting sounds, and healthy doses of experimentation, but often it can become a bit anemic and sort of all sound the same. But that's not a concern with the Melbourne weirdos from King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. They're not just copy-pasting old Syd Barrett-like riffs the way so many other bands do; they are sincere in their strangeness and are the real deal in authentic weirdness. Sketches of Brunswick East, the third of five albums the band plans to release this year, seems to increasingly distance itself from the modern psych rock scene as it starts playing with new forms. There's a dose of Frank Zappa in the arrangements and jazz-fusion chords, a mix of Ethiopian jazz in the scales they jam around, and even a dose of Burt Bacharach smoothness that still gravitates this freak-out album around pop motifs. "Countdown" plays it fairly straight as a smooth, funk track with crunchy production trickery around the wah-wah guitars and a minimal synth riff that's more Dam-Funk than psych. But there's something just off-kilter enough that prevents this album from ever becoming too smooth and sappy as it almost uses the form of funk while rejecting the limitations of the genre. The track suddenly ends and sets into motion the mood of the whole album. Instead of the classic song/break/song structure of a regular album, it suddenly becomes a suite of interconnected tracks that segue into each other so fast and without a break that it's beautifully disorienting. Maybe the whole album feels a little shaggier and looser because of the Mild High Club (Mac DeMarco's bandmate Alex Brettin) making things a little spacier, but this is a nice new direction for the band. As other bands get more and more digital, crisper, and edgeless, there's something so peaceful about the earthy vibes this album exudes that it just puts you at ease.