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The Diverse Appeal of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s Omnium Gatherum

The sextet’s first double album offers just over 80 minutes of genre-bending brilliance

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard omnium gatherum
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, photo by Jason Galea
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    Australia’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are easily among the most prolific and versatile acts of the last couple of decades. They’ve put out nearly two dozen collections since 2012, with several years spawning multiple releases each. Plus, their highly adventurous blends of psychedelic rock, hip-hop, garage rock, metal, ambient, dream pop, and electronic evoke artists as wide-ranging as Pink Floyd, Motörhead, Childish Gambino, Japanese Breakfast, Black Midi, and Tame Impala.

    Considering their talent and tenacity, it was only a matter of time before they pushed themselves further than ever by creating a double album. Indeed, Omnium Gatherum — which has more in common with 2021’s welcomingly exploratory Butterfly 3000 than it does last month’s avant-garde Made in Timeland — is essentially the band’s magnum opus.

    It’s not as boundlessly bizarre as, say, Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart’s longest 1960s excursions, but it harnesses the same sort of limitless imagination and aptitude. From start to finish, it fully celebrates the clever eccentricities of the group’s legacy and name.

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    The sextet has explained that making Omnium Gatherum (out Friday, April 22nd) was particularly significant because it marked the first time King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard recorded together since the COVID-19 pandemic began. (The LP’s immediate predecessors were produced in isolation, with each member’s parts being compiled remotely.)

    The sessions also allowed them to settle into their new studio, Gizz HQ, and try out a freer approach instead of once again placing themselves into a conceptual box with “explicit themes and singular sounds.” As singer/guitarist Stu Mackenzie rejoiced: “We decided, this is like our classic sprawling ‘double album.’ Our White Album, where anything goes.”

    As expected (given the album’s length and the group’s history), that sentiment carries through the entire journey. For instance, the wonderfully rhythmic, vibrant, and melodic “Magenta Mountain,” “Blame It on the Weather,” and “Presumptuous” sound like the sonic offspring of Portugal. The Man and Danger Mouse, whereas “The Garden Goblin,” “Red Smoke,” and “Candles” incorporate various shades of Oasis, Badly Drawn Boy, Super Furry Animals, and Steely Dan. These are but a few examples of how gorgeously Omnium Gatherum exudes inventive and colorful combinations of synth-pop, jazz, soul, R&B, and folk.

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