King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard made good on its promise to release five full-length albums in 2018. But none of those albums have the psychedelic charm of its seventh full-length album, Paper Mache Dream Balloon, released in 2015.
The album is a whimsical retreat from what the Australian band released before Dream Balloon, with light acoustic guitars and flutes weaving their way through easy-listening psychedelia.
The album is the band’s least stressful. Its light, dreamy instrumentation is perfectly described by its name; Paper Mache Dream Balloon has an airy ambiance that floats the listener through the album, instead of making the listener run through it.
The first song on the album, “Sense,” has a sweet tune that returns throughout the album. Its saxophone intro begins the album on a high note, with a jazzy tune that would seem out of place on any other psychedelic band’s album. It is smoother than many songs King Gizzard has released in the past.
There were no electric instruments on the album. It instead used acoustic instruments — anything the band could find. It was mostly recorded in an empty storage container on vocalist Stu Mackenzie’s parents’ farm, which contributed to the album’s dreamy, airy sound. It’s less intense than the band’s other releases because it uses the acoustic sound to its advantage.
Psychedelic rock can often sound overproduced. By stripping the album down to its basics, the band made a softer record that is much easier to listen to than some of its other releases. Psychedelic rock benefits from a softer, whimsical acoustic sound that King Gizzard accomplishes with Dream Balloon. Although psychedelic rock is known for its many layers and strange noises, the occasional stripped down album with exclusively acoustic instruments helps a band find its core.
On King Gizzard’s Bandcamp, Mackenzie called the album “a concept-less concept album,” which perfectly encapsulates the album’s sound. Dream Balloon followed several concept albums. The songs all seem to relate to each other because they aren’t related at all. Although the album is tied together with flutes, the songs aren’t connected though themes. The songs have the central theme of not being related at all, which helps the album distinguish itself against the band’s 12 other releases.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Paper Mache Dream Balloon is different from the rest of the band’s albums because it’s stripped down. The band puts out an impressive amount of content every year, but 2015’s Dream Balloon is one of the most interesting albums it has released.
Shelby Campbell is a freshman studying journalism and political science at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Let Shelby know by tweeting her @bloodbuzzohioan.