When it comes to neo-psych, there’s something in the water Down Under. Those cosmic scene kings, Perth’s Tame Impala, just headlined Coachella, while neighbours Pond recently returned with a belter of an album, ‘Tasmania’. For the real brain-bending stuff though, it’s prolific genre mashers King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard who sit at the really wild end of the spectrum.
Over the last nine years, the Melbourne septet have shown that there’s no genre they won’t dip their toes into. But in 2017, they pulled off a feat ambitious even for them, releasing five – yes, five – albums within 12 months that nailed custom-made psychedelia, nightmarish metal, elevator jazz and wacko prog. What’s next, a double album of mumble-rap?
Not quite, but on their 14th album, the Gizz have done something perhaps equally unlikely: they’ve taken their synapse fryer off the hob. ‘Fishing For Fishies’ is their most accessible and immediate album to date. There’s a sense of looseness on this offering following the hectic pace of 2017’s relentless experimentation. ‘Boogieman Sam’ and ‘The Cruel Millennial’ are thick and fuzzy dollops of T Rex psych blues, and the swaggering ‘This Thing’ revels in a ’70s-inspired groove so deep Marc Bolan would need a ladder to climb out.
Of course King Gizz are far too perspicacious and downright weird to give it to us too straight, punctuating ‘Bird Song’ with spurts of jazzy piano and talk of “shiny, flying elephants”. The title track wafts in on acoustic Grateful-Dead-esque, sun-dappled guitar, with a surreal “I just want to let them freely swim” chorus all pescatarians can get behind – but for the most part this is pretty straightforward psych-rock.
It’s on the last two tracks that the band twist things up, though, opening up another new avenue for them to explore. First there’s ‘Acarine’, which sashays on an intoxicating beat, before morphing into a lysergic-drenched psych-rave outro reminiscent of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’.
Then it all wraps up with ‘Cyboogie’, a seven-minute glam-stomp of vocodered vocals and filtered synthesizers that’s like nothing they’ve done before, and manages to sound simultaneously like a lost cut from Kraftwerk’s 1978 ‘Trans Europe Express’ and something Daft Punk are yet to cook up in a lab in 2050. Are they about to go fully futuristic cyborg on us?