It was a rainy Thursday night in Leeds, and I had just had a long and full day which I had found pretty exhausting. I’d dragged myself out of the place where I was staying and, even up to the point of getting to the doors of The Belgrave Music Hall where the band were playing, I was contemplating just going back and crashing. But I had a ticket to see King Gizzard and thought I might as well see what they are like…BOOM! what a bloody good night I had as the band scorched through a set largely drawn from its latest album ‘I’m Your Mind Fuzz’. It was one of my gigs of the year – no prisoners, no doubt!
First something about the album (which was released on November 11 on Castle Recordings in the US and is out on December 1st on Heavenly in the UK), the first four tracks of which represent as good an opening to an album I’ve heard this year. ‘I’m Your Mind’, ‘I’m Not Your Mind’, ‘Cellophane’ (the superb single from the album, see link below for the video), and ‘I’m Your Mind Fuzz’ are an astounding collection on fuzzy and upbeat numbers which are exciting and, on their own, would make a fantastic free-standing EP. After that things slow down a bit with ‘Empty’ and ‘Hot Water’ , the latter having the sort of signature King Gizzard sound that I can only describe as ‘cabaret motorik’. Following this downtempo interlude the band go full on again with ‘Am I In Heaven’, which is just what I was wondering when I heard this since it goes for the jugular forcing you to just get up and dance with its funky beat and bluesy harmonica, not to mention the wonderfully nuanced bridge – probably my favourite track from the album: seven minutes of totally unadulterated joy.
After that it’s back to earth with ‘Slow Jam 1’ which is slow and melodious and takes some getting used to after what has gone down before. The first time I heard this track I found it to be rather banal, but after a few listens I’m finding that it is now delivering. This is a track that needs some time to appreciate it as is ‘Satan Speeds Up’ which is more King Gizzard as lounge lizard as it creeps though the furnished undergrowth with its slowed down tempo and varied speed – a great 60s sound that makes a mockery of the hideousness of modern autotune vocals (which I hate with a passion).
Last up is ‘Her and I’ (Slow Jam 2) which continued where the previous track left off in that there is an element of smoothness there with the lilting wah wah guitar, soothing organ and groovy harmonica. It is an eight minute track which is laid back enough to sink into, but in a way that you never quite feel comfortable at there is something sinister, especially within the vocals, which is unsettling – and it is because of this that means that it is a track that will keep on giving.
I have to admit that when I first heard this album I thought that it was ok, nothing special really and I didn’t particularly get into it. Hearing ‘Cellophane’ a few times on BBC 6 Music convinced me that there may be more to it, but seeing the band live just sealed the deal. This is a band that is so exciting live, the guitars and drummers (yes there are two of them) create an absolute wall of sound that just hits you squarely between the eyes and legs, and sends you into a place where you just want to party with the music. Were it not enough that King Gizzard played most of the new album live, the band finished with Head On/Pill, the amazing sixteen minute track from the previous album ‘Float Along – Fill Your Lungs’ which is one of my favourites from the last eighteen months. This was such an intense, joyous and exhausting experience that I find it hard to verbalise here. Let’s just say that it fuckin’ rocked and so did I – just amazing!
And to think I nearly didn’t go.
If you want to get an idea of what Head On/ Pill is like, check this link out: