Gumboot Soup, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s FIFTH album of 2017

by Austin Burwell

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, the 7-piece psych-rock outfit from Melbourne, Australia have set the bar high for themselves in 2018 after quite an astonishing 2017. Promising early in the year that they would release five full-length studio albums, they held true to their word just in the nick of time, releasing their fifth, Gumboot Soup, mere hours before the New Year.

 

It’s quite a feat to release five albums in a year but what is even more impressive is that each album explores and experiments with different concepts that make each album unique in their own right, instead of simply recycling the same sounds and ideas. The earliest album released in February, Flying Microtonal Bananas, was an experiment not just music, but in sound itself.

 

The second release, Murder of the Universe, has been called by the band a “concept album to end all concepts,” and yarns three tales; the first two parts released in April and May, with the conclusion being release in June. Each chapter explores different themes such as life, purpose, and identity through three fantastic tragedies.

 

August’s release, Sketches of Brunswick East, was a collaboration with Alex Brettin’s psychedelic jazz project Mild High Club. It was inspired by Miles Davis’ 1960 album Sketches of Spain and the jazz-improve style is an attempt to pursue beauty through music in an ever-changing world.

 

And Polygondwanaland, a totally FREE album—as stated by the band—in which the band gave away the masters and left it to fans, labels, and anyone else to press the record themselves. With the downloads, the band declared, “Make tapes, make CD’s, make records . . . Ever wanted to start your own record label? GO for it! Employ your mates, press wax, pack boxes. We do not own this record. You do. Go forth, share, enjoy.”

 

The newest album, Gumboot Soup, focuses more on individual songs than the album as a cohesive whole, straying away from the format of their concept albums earlier in the year. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard had released several singles leading up to Gumboot Soup that included “All is Known,” “Beginners Luck,” “Greenhouse Heat Death,” and “The Last Oasis,” but it was challenging to see how these singles were related.

 

Now that the album is out, lead singer Stu MacKenzie explains in a recent interview that Gumboot Soup is a collection of songs “that didn’t work in any of the rest of the four records.” He says the Gumboot Soup was the “place for us to put a lot of different ideas that we’re trying to experiment within the song, rather than within the whole record. And for me, some of my favorite songs of the year are on the fifth record. It’s more song-oriented than album-oriented.”

 

Each of the four singles released ahead of Gumboot Soup are quite different from one another and trying to guess how they’d fit into a cohesive fifth album before its release was difficult, to say the least. However, now that it is here, it’s easy to see how all these different styles coming together into a unified album might just be the perfect recipe for a delicious Gumboot Soup.

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