King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard made the ambitious promise to release five albums in 2017. Being the dedicated miracle musicians that they are— the band sealed the deal just shy of 2018 with Gumboot Soup, their fifth release of the year. This release no doubt scored brownie points with fans and critics in terms of quantity but the big question following this feat is: does the quality of this fifth album live up to the expectations of already-impressed listeners?
One of the distinctive attributes of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is their vast mix of instruments and sounds used in the production of their music. The band has seemingly taken a polymath approach in that no one member is restricted to one specific instrument. Arguably more of a blessing than a curse, Gumboot Soup encapsulates precisely that eclectic and outreaching nature that struck a cord with their fans. The album title itself suggests a mixture of ingredients boiled and bubbled to create a brilliant thing; a reflection of how Gumboot Soup came to be. King Gizzard themselves said in an interview that the album is a concoction of ideas that did not necessarily fit in their previous four releases. Despite this, the compilation of supposed misfits maintains its high musical quality and actually works incredibly well together. This says a lot about the skill of the band as typically, there is an assumption that access to such a large variety of instruments would lead to frivolous and messy blobs of music. King Gizzard have been very careful to ensure they are able to produce an identifiable sound across their work.
King Gizzard has, once again, delivered, some enjoyable and delectable gems
Gumboot Soup exposes a softer side to King Gizzard with several slower and laid back tracks such as ‘Beginner’s Luck’ and ‘The Last Oasis’. Both of the mentioned tracks possess a floating quality in their melodic composition. From the reverb-soaked vocals to the bouncy synth sounds, these slower tracks are ones you can relax and chill to. One very admirable quality worth mentioning is that despite the “simplicity” of the more mellow songs, they still contain many layers of sound and retain complexity both rhythmically and structurally, so the songs are very difficult to get bored of listening to. That isn’t to say that their heavier and grittier tracks of the album such as ‘The Great Chain of Being’ aren’t just as appreciated. ‘The Great Chain of Being’ sums up the very enthused energy of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard as performing artists; their full sound inevitably keeps you on your feet, accompanied by some lively head bobbing.
Having seen King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard play live at Field Day last year, I had felt that their albums were unable to do them justice; the standard and quality of their sensational live performance had, in my opinion, far surpassed their recorded material. However, after listening to Gumboot Soup, I can confidently say that King Gizzard has, once again, delivered, some enjoyable and delectable gems, making this 11 track blend one fun and delicious meal of an album.