Proving, for the fourth time this year, that they’re basically the music world’s equivalent of Stephen King – they seem to be a bottomless well of ground-breaking content.
Of course, King Gizzard’s sound is instantly familiar, largely because nobody even comes close to replicating what they’re doing, but despite being their fourth release this year, Polygondwanaland is unlike any of their previous 2017 releases. Introducing itself with a crashing saga which unfolds over upwards of ten minutes, you know from the moment you press play that King Gizzard aren’t going to release any old tripe just to keep their promise of releasing five albums in 12 months. ‘Crumbling Castle’ is a bubbling cauldron of psychedelia, almost jarring in the way in which it slips between rhythms. To put it simply, it’s a journey.
From there, the album is somewhat of an aural acid trip, with the band forgoing all the rules as they disregard time signatures and pile clashing melodies on top of one another to somehow create something that can only be described as genius. The album mellows out somewhat after the opening track, exploring calm and intricate melodies though still featuring searing guitar hooks and drum rhythms that surely aren’t humanly possible, even for a band with two drummers.
Whilst Polygondwanaland may not have an immediately apparent, clear-cut concept in the same way Flying Microtonal Banana, Murder of the Universe and Sketches of Brunswick East do, it sees King Gizzard exploring further unchartered territory. Although the album displays a new sound and different approach, there are elements of their other 2017 releases thrown into the mix, with Leah Senior delivering a softly spoken verse on ‘The Castle In The Air’, jazzy flute melodies cropping up on a number of tracks and the faint air of Middle Eastern influence leaking in at times. Polygondwanaland is certainly an album that you’ll want to listen to on repeat, paying close attention to all that’s going on in order to pick apart all the layers, and still be left somewhat confused and delighted by the simultaneous chaos and fastidious attention to detail of it all.
Not only is Polygondwanaland a phenomenal effort musically, but the manner in which it was released is yet another pleasant surprise. Released as a 100% free album with separate mixes for digital, CD and vinyl copies, complete with a high resolution album artwork and instructions on how to create your own vinyl or CD version, you can’t help but admire King Gizz’s disregard for money or status – they’re just doing what they love and seeing how far they can take it. More than anything, this album will leave you in suspense as you wait to find out whether they can deliver on their promise to push out one more album in the dwindling moments that are left of this year.