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Album review: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’

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Four stars

Flying Microtonal Banana King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard plans to release five studio albums this year. Five. That means if you don’t like Flying Microtonal Banana—the Australians’ first new record since Nonagon Infinity, released 10 long months ago—you’ve got more music coming soon, probably by the time you finish this sentence. But you might not need it, because Banana is pretty tasty.

Perched between Nonagon’s driving prog and the genteel hippiedom of 2015’s Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, Banana employs microtonal tuning—“intervals smaller than a semitone, which are also called ‘microintervals,’” k thx Wikipedia—to deliver a nine-song set of bright, enjoyable psychedelia. Album opener “Rattlesnake” keeps things simple—a rhythm that chugs along like a gas engine, lyrics that largely consist of the title repeated over and over—and yet it wouldn’t sound out of place on the Deep Purple records that probably inspired it. Other album highlights, including the swaying “Nuclear Fusion” and the frontier melodrama “Billabong Valley,” also evoke liquid light backdrops, blotter acid and Nehru jackets, and though Banana doesn’t quite move beyond those tentpoles, it’s still a hell of a trip.

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