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Cat’s Cradle: Why King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard deserve a chance

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is a prolific band for its unique albums and frequent releases. 2021 having two releases: L.W. and Butterfly 3000 and 2022 opening with Butterfly 3001. It is not uncommon to get more than one King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard album a year, with 2017 seeing the release of five consecutive albums.

Since its formation in 2012, the band has released over twenty albums without ever committing to an established style. This is the appeal of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, in its ability to flip genre and style from album to album. 

Examples include Nonagon Infinity, an endless rock album where every song flows into the next, making it infinitely replayable. Quarters! consists of four ten-minute sections of psychedelic soundscapes, while Eyes Like the Sky is a spoken word Western with musical accompaniment. 

In part, this makes King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard a hard sell for new listeners. Albums like Polygondwanaland show off insurmountable energy with its tongue-twister title and unique style. However, this shouldn’t be a deterrent, but an encouragement asking listeners to dive in head-first and discover new music. 

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard lyrics and instruments draw from folk, psychedelic and garage rock. What results is a band with albums standing as independent genres and styles to each other. The band’s albums feel like individual experiments in style, music and tone. 

Like any good poem, it should be read (here listened) three times to develop an idea for the way instruments, themes and style carry across each song. Albums like Nonagon Infinity encourage a re-listen, it’s infinite structure lending itself to study. 

Other albums can be dissected as case studies of genre. For example, Flying Microtonal Banana opens with the song “Rattlesnake,” often being seen as the repetitious, psychedelic beat of “Somebody to Love.” “Billabong Valley” comes at the midpoint with a folk “bushranger ballad.” Then the wonderful “Nuclear Fusion” rounds out the album with a garage rock style of the Magnum Force Title theme.

On repeated listening, each element falls into place, and the use of the microtonal guitar forms a theme for the album. Specifically, ways in which songs and themes are framed around this specific instrument. Folk, rock and psychedelic music is put into conversation through association. Music genre and styles blend in a way that encourages crossing genre boundaries. 

Many of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard albums act like an archway. Many of the tracks exist as bricks on each side of a keystone or defining song of the album. This keystone often defines or supports an entire album. In the case of Flying Microtonal Banana, it’s “Nuclear Fusion,” which ties elements of each song around it to create something unique. 

Repeated listens of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard albums slowly flesh out the supporting element. Although Infest the Rat’s Nest is a dense, heavy rock album, the style and value of come from a deconstruction of its elements. Re-listening, re-thinking and anticipating each element of the album in comparison to itself and other works.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is a band that asks for a listener's attention, patience and curiosity. Its music blends genre and style that rewards faithful fans with new music and new genres. The best part: if you don’t like an album, listen to the next because they’ll eventually make something you’ll love. So, in the lead-up to their Columbus performance, give it a chance and learn to love them.

Benjamin Ervin is a senior studying English literature and writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Benjamin know by emailing him be425014@ohio.edu.

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