Album Review: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard “Nonagon Infinity” (2016 LP)

Melbourne seven-piece outfit King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have just released their eighth full-length release, Nonagon Infinity, and it is nothing short of pure madness. Although typically referred to as a psychedelic rock group, the septet have been here, there and everywhere over the course of their relatively short musical career (for a group with eight LPs, that is), yet have settled on a rock solid garage rock sound for their latest offering.

What sets Nonagon Infinity apart from every other album (and I do mean, every other album) is that it has been written and recorded to form an endless loop – a nine-pieced artwork of infinite length (an infinite nonagon, if you will). While this is cool in its own right, what makes it truly special is that the group has done so in a way that doesn’t sound tacky, forced, or anything at all that would suggest it isn’t authentically musical. The looping characteristic plays second fiddle to the fact that it is still a great album to listen to, period.

While the record is still split into individual tracks for the purpose of having tracks, it’s necessary to look at the album as a whole to fully ‘get’ it. The garage rock sound as mentioned before is prevalent throughout the entire proceeding, with guitars pushing strongly through the mix, often at the expense of the vocals which regardless can be difficult to understand at times as a result of the mild distortion placed on them.

While garage rock is hardly known for its rhythmical complexities, it wouldn’t be a King Gizzard record without a few odd sections to break up the otherwise easily toe-tappable beats, with the cleverly stuttered 9/4 sections in “Big Fig Wasp” a notable example of this.

“Gamma Knife” is the lead single from the record and fittingly so, given it is the best example of the entire album’s sound in just one track. While 3/4 is hardly a common time signature, the repeating nature of the drums on this the third track of the record keep up the tempo for garage guitars and distorted vocals to fly over the top. If you happen to be looking for a quieter section of the record, the middle section of “Invisible Face” will serve your needs, featuring a bluesy bass line over swinging brush drums and consistently panning guitars, all features combining for the kind of sound you’d expect to find accompanied with a suit-buying scene in a movie. Oddly specific, but this record is, in parts, specifically odd.

Nonagon Infinity is the kind of album that really does need to be listened to to be fully understood. While it’s easy to get the idea of a record the loops itself over, hearing it executed in such a brilliant way can’t be explained in words that do justice to King Gizzard’s craft.

For those who don’t normally listen to grungier genres such as garage rock, fear not; Nonagon Infinity is not the sort of album to make you think ‘what a giant puddle of noise’. Instrumentation, production, and writing are excellent throughout, culminating in the Melbourne outfit’s best record to date.

Review Score: 8.2 out of 10.

Nonagon Infinity is out now.

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