king-gizzard

Like Dananananaykroyd and Does It Offend You, Yeah? before them, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s smirking in-jokey name does them no favours in terms of approachability. Couple that with ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon’’s sleeve – an ironically knowing pastiche of 1970s children’s LPs – and presentationally the whole package is in hot water. That’s a shame, as the Australian seven-piece’s seventh record since 2012 is a quietly inviting, charmingly ramshackle record with far more warmth, and depth, than its self-satisfied appearance suggests.

The opening trio of ‘Sense’, ‘Bone’ and ‘Dirt’ all trip along breezily on jazzy flute licks and West Coast psychedelia, while ‘Cold Cadaver’ and ‘NGRI’ contain among them two of 2015’s most insistently endearing melodies; sitar drones fuel ‘Bitter Boogie’’s blues-meets-Beta-Band swagger, ‘Most of What I Like’ is elegantly hazy indie pop, and the overriding impression is of a group playing within themselves, but deliberately, almost so as to be more welcoming. It’s brief, too, which is a virtue: the lack of bloat gives the record confidence, and also helps render the recurring similar song arrangements as more of a bid for stylistic consistency rather than a paucity of ideas.

It all makes for a loveably quaint and intriguingly skewiff album, at odds with its first impressions: a record to be heard rather than seen.

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