While Tame Impala is becoming one of the most popular bands in the world at the moment, there are also other bands, making up together a very strong and promising new psychedelic and garage rock scene over in Australia. We learned this fact last year thorough a very interesting tribute to the legendary Nuggets. A number of young Australian rockers covered each one song from the original Nuggets for its fortieth anniversary and the result was the new compilation record known as Nuggets: Antipodean Interpolations of the First Psychedelic Era. One of the central roles on that compilation record was a seven-piece with a silly band name King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard who covered Open My Eyes by The Nazz. They also have a new record out called Eyes Like The Sky, which is a topic of today’s review.
I know very little about King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. The photographs of the band clearly shows that they are quite young and a few texts mention that they come from Melbourne. Sound-wise, it appears that they are very imaginative and very competent musicians. The record that we are reviewing today has been posted on their band camp page for some time now and the vinyl record release is scheduled for April this year in Australia.
The record is a concept effort centered around a wild west tale in the USA, set right after the civil war. My perception that the record works as some kind of a soundtrack to an imaginary western or a novel or maybe even a comic book. Western imagery is obviously close to the spaghetti westerns but another close comparison is what one can find for instance in the Italian series of graphic novels about Ken Parker, created by Berardi and Milazzo, and it covers about the same historical period.
Gunshots, galloping horses, barking dogs, blacksmith tools and native American chants are all worked well into the larger musical picture. But what really works amazingly well on this record is the narration, here performed by the Australian singer and songwriter Broderick Smith who also wrote the actual story so effectively dramatized musically by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Mr. Smith does the narration in a flawless American accent, despite being an Englishman who moved with parents to Australia at a very young age.
The story is short and moves quickly, but there are a lot of memorably poetic moments which are often accentuated by the musical dramatization of the band. Check these lines out: “One thing a white man should never do is move towards an Apache, because you can never get there. How do you catch dust in the wind?”
Broderick Smith is virtually unknown outside his country, but hw is fairly famous in his homeland. Multi-talented, he had an early success with rock bands Carson and The Dingos in the early seventies and more recently, he has a steady acting career on Australian television. It would be interesting to find out how this collaboration came about, but the news from Australia are coming very slowly.
The whole package is a nail-baiting drama that flows like a great rock record, despite the novelty feel to it. Well done lads!
First published on rockxs.com.