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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard serve up a bellyful of late 60's vintage whimsy

"Paper Mache Dream Balloon"

Release date: 13 November 2015
King Gizzard The Lizard Wizard Paper Mache Dream Balloon
10 November 2015, 11:30 Written by Janne Oinonen
First things first: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard is a profoundly appalling name for a band, a genuine ball-and-chain moniker seemingly designed to lower expectations to rock bottom level.

During a first spin to Paper Mache Dream Balloon, it seems worryingly as if the Australian six-piece have cooked up an album serious and substantial enough to match both their unpromising handle and the naivist cover art. After the serene, sax-wielding jazz-folk pop of the elegant opener "Sense", the album rapidly plummets into what sounds suspiciously like a parody of the worst exploitative excesses of candyfloss-light late 60's psych-pop amidst a flurry of flutes; at times, you're reminded of the wackiest bits of gibberish cooked up by Devendra Banhart in a full T-Rex worship mode. The likes of "Bone", a close relative of the Small Faces' cheeky chappie manifesto "Lazy Sunday", maintain a light and breezy demeanour that resembles those cheesy old TV variety shows that stripped psychedelia back to its lowest common denominators: the tempos are brisk, the mood is chirpy. No, make that chirpy chirpy cheek cheek.

Keep it at, though, and much, much more compelling depths soon emerge. There is a darkness lurking beneath the cheery exterior, with gloomy mutterings of wine turning into blood (how's that for an unwelcome update on the biblical phenomena?), beasts being summoned and unnamed beings being dissected, with their skins being saved for later use. The colours might be decidedly bright and day-glo, but not all is as groovy in the realm of Paper Mache Dream Balloon, rendering the album a satisfactorily juxtaposed proposition.

The best tunes - the wonky and really quite ridiculously catchy "Trapdoor", the harp-blasting Canned Heat choogle of "Bitter Boogie" - manage an increasingly rare trick for bands seeking inspirations from bygone mind-expanders: these are obviously a pastiche of something or other, but try drawing a specific lineage of influences and you're doomed to draw a blank. Even so, you can't help but hope that King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard slowed down their hectic production rate - seven albums in three years, just like they used to churn them out in the olden days - to really have a go at the genuinely superb record that seems well within their reach. And maybe have a go at picking another name, too.

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