Over the course of 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) released five albums — with each album consisting of material in a wildly different genre and style from the other, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly prolific. Flying Microtonal Banana and The Murder of the Universe, two albums released within that incredibly prolific run found the acclaimed Australian act pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions.
For a band that has been as productive as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not having much in the way of new music last year seems extremely odd but they were busy with several other things — including: a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.
The band’s fourteenth album, Fishing for Fishies is slated for an April 26, 2019 release through their own Flightless Records, and the album reportedly finds the band creating a sonic world in which the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present, as the material is essentially boogie blues that struts, shimmies and stomps through several different moods and terrains. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”
“I didn’t really know who I was by the end of 2017,” Mackenzie continues in press notes, about the band’s incredibly prolific 2017. “It was a good kind of spent feeling though, as I like being busy. For most of the holiday period I was in the studio doing the last of the recording and mixing on Gumboot Soup. And as soon as it clicked over to 2018 I stopped worrying about recording for a while and started living instead.”
Written primarily on piano, the material on Fishing for Fishies is reportedly centered around recurring musical motifs — piano, mellotron and synth flourishes, paired with vocals drenched in vocoder, and a plethora of creative U-turns. Now, as you may recall, the album’s first single, “Cyboogie” found the band pushing their sound in a completely new direction, with five of its seven members playing synths in a funky and strutting disco boogie with heavily vocoder’ed vocals that brought From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and DEVO to mind while actually being about a dancing cyborg from the future. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Boogieman Sam” is a retro-futuristic take on boogie blues that’s one part Marc Bolan and T. Rex, one part John Lee Hooker, one part prog rock freakout that struts and shimmies.