“Every song exemplifies an aspect of what makes King Gizzard and their sound so great”
Well, the psych-rock seven-piece from Melbourne, Australia, only went and did it didn’t they – they held fast to their promise, and released five albums in 2017. Yep, you read that correctly – the band released five full-length albums in one year, each with its own concept and unique sound, ranging from the psych-jazz collaboration with Mild High Club, Sketches of Brunswick East, to the dark and apocalyptic Murder of the Universe.
Gumboot Soup, released on New Year’s Eve, is unique out of the four as whilst the album does undoubtedly have some form of flow to it, it doesn’t have its own specific style – it’s a mix of songs that didn’t quite make it onto the previous four albums released earlier in the year. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an incredible album, however – the album is something of a greatest hits album for songs that haven’t actually been released yet. Every song exemplifies an aspect of what makes King Gizzard and their sound so great, and so unlike anything else around at the moment. These are not reject songs – they’re songs that just didn’t exactly fit the strong concept of the album they were originally intended to feature on, and it’s a testament to King Gizz’s commitment to creating high-quality concept albums and knowing their own music that they knew when to sacrifice songs from appearing on a record for the sake of the album as a whole.
The album never comes out and exactly says that it’s a miss-match of songs from the band’s previous albums, and guitarist and vocalist (also keyboardist, AND flute player) Stu Mackenzie has said that they had focussed more on the individual songs rather than an overall concept or theme or their latest album, but fans of the band can easily tell which album each song was supposed to have belonged to. Many of the songs have a sound reminiscent of the band’s third 2017 album, Sketches of Brunswick East – opening track ‘Beginner’s Luck’ is a blissed out, ‘70s psych folk/rock jam, with ‘Barefoot Desert’ very much leaning towards the jazz end of things. My favourite tracks from the album are those that share the sound of Murder of the Universe, King Gizz’s second album from last year and arguably the band’s most conceptual work, telling the story of the destruction of the universe by a vomiting robot in three defining chapters of the record. It’s my favourite out of all King Gizzard’s albums so it’s not really a surprise that ‘Greenhouse Heat Death’, ‘The Great Chain of Being’, and ‘All Is Known’ are my standout tracks from Gumboot Soup. They’re heavy and dirty and it’s alternative and psych rock at its absolute best.
Gumboot Soup was a hell of a way to end what was already a ridiculously strong and successful year for the band, and they certainly don’t look like they’ll be stopping anytime soon.
Review by: Phoebe Hagan