King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup (Flightless)


With four full-length albums under their collective belt already in 2017, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard close out the year with album number five…released on the last day of December.

The seven-piece psych-rockers disprove the theory that too many cooks spoil the broth as they serve up their Gumboot Soup. The 11 tracks that comprise this latest long player were tunes that either didn’t quite fit stylistically on the previous four releases, or were recorded later in the year.

One wonders where they found the time to write and record this one as their previous record was released in the middle of November and they’ve been touring throughout the year, with a recent run of shows at Auckland’s Whammy Bar.

But here it is, and Gumboot Soup sounds remarkably cohesive and substantial.

The album opens with the gently psychedelic Beginner’s Luck, a cautionary ode to gambling full of skittering drums, lilting flutes and a wonky guitar workout at the end.

Greenhouse Heat Death is, as the title would indicate, more intense…another cautionary tale, this one addressing global warming. “My house is fried, all life has died”, growls bandleader Stu Mackenzie. This one will no doubt top Donald Trump’s best-of-the-year list.

Elsewhere, keyboard player Ambrose Kenny-Smith chimes in for the whimsical Barefoot Desert, while the band sets the tone for an antipodean summer in tunes like Muddy Water and The Last Oasis.

The groovy vibe is broken by the primitive riffage and primordial vocal of The Great Chain Of Being, while Superposition takes the character of an A.I. robot.

My personal fave is All Is Known, a guitar-driven rocker that gets weirder as is progresses, winding up with some stellar wah wah guitar.

The album closes with The Wheel, a jazzy number that finds the band looking ahead into 2018 as they sing, “the wheel that steers us into our future”.

I’m not sure how long the King Gizzard crew can keep up this level and quantity of creativity, but they seem to have a bottomless well of inspiration. Here’s to 2018!

Marty Duda