Album Review – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Omnium Gatherum

 

Omnium Gatherum is King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s 20th album in 10 years, marking a definitive turning point in the band’s discography. Having recorded three albums remotely due to the pandemic, this album is the first in years the unit have been able to create together in the studio. The energy this has bred is palpable, being contagiously fun throughout, like one big jam. It feels as though the band coming back together for their milestone 20th album – a decade after their first full length release – has made them consolidate the foundations on which they have built this institution, as well as the creative freedom they have bought themselves with their prolific output.

Importantly, this recap of genres explored makes this an incredibly approachable entry point to a body of work dense enough to be impermeable to new fans. Opening track ‘The Dripping Tap’ opens on a crooner-esque segment before entering the garage psychedelia that the band’s early releases were coloured by, mixed with a dosage of prog rock for good measure. Despite boasting a behemoth runtime of almost 19 minutes, the song’s pace means it never approaches the point of stagnation, having been doused in the thick oil-slick of polychromatic psych – the sheen of which is visibly dripping from every song on the album, in some quantity.

Re-establishing the comfort of jamming through comfortable territory, the band are now back on good form to explore. Found on the album are monolithic metal tracks reminiscent of 2019’s Infest the Rats Nest, such as the stoner metal spawned ‘Gaia’ and the thrashing acid mammoth of ‘Predator X’ – both of which prove the versatility of the album, as they aren’t jarring sat among jazz rock songs (‘Kepler-22b’) and vintage-tinged pop numbers like ‘Presumptuous’. Omnium Gathering also sees the band’s first foray into a uniquely Gizzard hip-hop on ‘Sadie Sorceress’ and ‘The Grim Reaper’, showing with a renewed finesse that this is still a band of formidably adaptable musicians and not an exhausted greyhound unable to learn new tricks.

The band does seem to tire by the second half of this double album, however. The closing tracks limp – albeit with unfettered style and confidence – in place of that earlier energetic sprint. It’s not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but the band slouches slightly too close to the tedium that the opening steered wildly away from for me. Maybe it could have been rearranged slightly, providing a second wind towards the finish line, rather than a noticeable, though minor, petering out at the end of a triumphant effort.

Despite this, I was really taken by this album. Tracks fold into one another perfectly and it calls back to leviathans of the Lizard Wizard’s mighty discography such as I’m in Your Mind Fuzz and Nonagon Infinity whilst absorbing from progress made since – and what they remain capable of. Tiring towards the end of an endurance race is understandable, if not a slight shame. Still, King Gizzard prove that they remain worthy of contemporary legend status.

By Levi Mulholland

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