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As a follow up to 2020’s K.G., King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard return with L.W.—the second half of a double album recorded entirely in quarantine by each member of the sixtet.
Make no mistake: This is a complete and fully realized effort from the band, whose genre-bending foray into Latin and Indian beats perfectly platforms its love for distorted guitars. This album is proggy, it’s funky, it’s purple and yellow and a bubbling witches’ brew of certifiably fun music taking on very serious subjects, as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are want to do.
Concerns over climate change have made their way onto King Gizzard’s lyric sheet before and they arise again on L.W. This band has never taken their role as the bridge between psych rock and green metal for granted, and at this point the bridge is 8 miles wide. This is a good thing.
Many of L.W.’s 9 tracks seamlessly flow into one another even while traversing different territories. The delicious pairing of “O.N.E.” and “Pleura” gives insight into what a Black Sabbath + Khruangbin supergoup would sound like if Piper at the Gates of Dawn-era Syd Barrett joined the studio sessions.
The guitar outfitted to sound like a sitar on “Static Electricity” and the actual sitar on “East West Link” provide the true melody for these tracks, each painting a bleak portrait of a planet decimated by overdevelopment and eventually, inevitable disaster.
The 9-minute closing track, “K.G.L.W.” doesn’t offer hope. It doesn’t offer a plan to turn the ship around, it doesn’t say, “Act now unless you want us to be wandering around in this Mad Max-like reality.” It simply and poignantly instructs the listener to cage the band, as they are animals, too. It’s a bleak sentiment and yet, with climate change statistics being as serious as they are, the direction we are heading in is bleak.
Releasing a double album as two singular albums is a risky choice, yet it works for K.G. and L.W., respectively. The two play well both with each other and off each other—elements disappear only to return later—and Stu Mackenzie’s distorted “Woo!” brilliantly echoes a Frankie Teardrop-esque descent into each breakdown. Come for the grooves, stay for the community conscience.
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