King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Butterfly 3000
Red, Blue or Yellow, lucky dip vinyl. Housed in a brown paper sleeve.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard have always greeted creative boundaries with the same respect bulldozers visit upon anything foolish enough to stray into their path. Over 11 years and across their 17 studio albums to date, the sui generis sextet have turned their many hands to luminous acid-rock daydreams (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz), gritty western horse operas (Eyes Like The Sky), never-ending science-fiction song cycles (Nonagon Infinity), dystopian death-metal epics (Infest The Rat’s Nest) and winningly mellifluous jazz-folk (Sketches Of Brunswick East). They’ve even invented their own musical instrument – a hybrid electric guitar sharing much of its DNA with the traditional Turkish bağlama – to explore the notes between the notes (a mission that’s yielded three albums thus far: Flying Microtonal Banana, K.G. and L.W.).
But their 18th album, Butterfly 3000, might be their most fearless leap into the unknown yet: a suite of ten songs that all began life as arpeggiated loops composed on modular synthesisers, before being fashioned into addictive, optimistic and utterly seductive dream-pop by the six-piece. The album sounds simultaneously like nothing they’ve ever done before, and thoroughly, unmistakeably Gizz, down to its climactic neon psych-a-tronic flourish. The new album follows on from the two Gizzard full-lengths that preceded it, K.G. and L.W., which, though begun traditionally, were completed during lockdown with the members finishing tracks remotely, as they were unable to congregate in the studio. Similarly executed in isolation, Butterfly 3000 takes the concept a purposeful step further, recorded entirely in the band members’ own homes, their studio and rehearsal space remaining out-of-bounds.
This is the most considered album we’ve ever made. With lots of elements in different time signatures, it’d be very easy for something like this to just sound like a mess, like free jazz. It takes a lot longer to finesse everything, until every part feels deliberate. As one would expect on a King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard album, thorny knots of prog surface occasionally – the immersive hopscotch tangle of ‘Black Hot Soup’, for example – but the dominant mode is brilliantly focused and accessible. From the pulsing, utopian electro-pop of ‘Yours’ and the pitch-bent visions of ‘Dreams’, to the ecstatic, uplifting loops of ‘Catching Smoke’ and the assured fusion of synthetic and acoustic elements on ‘Interior People’ (one of the greatest Gizzard anthems yet), Butterfly 3000 displays a confidence at odds with its experimental methods, and a succinctness that pays dividends.