A study in contrasts bookending a marathon cycle of albums, Gumboot Soup’s eleven tracks pull together the King Gizzard sound in all of its elemental shades. Laced with a little schmaltz ‘Beginner’s Luck’ alongside ‘The Last Oasis’ echo the jazzy excursions of Sketches of Brunswick East. ‘All is Known’ could just as easily be tailing out from the stygian heavy psych of Polygondwanaland while ‘Superposition’ echoes the reedy pastoral numbers of Paper Mache Dream Balloon.
The ‘Great Chain of Being’ crashes through as the album's left-of-centre moment. It’s heavier metal, even a little doomy. It may just be A sly joke, but it could equally be suggestive of another harebrained creative tangent.
Breezier numbers ‘I’m Sleeping In’ and ‘The Wheel’ leave off in on what feels like a breathy sigh. These final cuts play mellower, less driven by an exploratory urgency than a sense of relief. Amidst the layers of spacey and surreal imagery Stu McKenzie’s lyrics seem to speak with a rare directness. Tired but elated, Gumboot’s coda serves to sum up the year while softly emoting, “We did it.”
Well they did it. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have somehow managed to release five albums in 2017. Concluding the year with Gumboot Soup, it seems like all they do is tour and record - which we’re all quite happy with. It’s no secret that Gizz fans are the most spoilt, with the band treating them to a continuous flow of new music and live shows. Now they’ve ended a spectacular year with their thirteenth studio LP.
Gumboot Soup is a diverse record. This time around the band focus on experimenting with each individual song rather than the entire album. They haven’t followed in the previous direction of Polygondwanaland, but if you’re a fan of Sketches of Brunswick East you’re sure to enjoy as many of songs possess that same jazzy feel. Others like ‘Down the Sink’, ‘The Great Chain of Being’ and ‘All Is Known’ bear greater similarity to Flying Microtonal Banana and Murder of the Universe.
Gumboot Soup closes Gizz’s landmark year. 2017 has been a period which has seen the group continuously deliver a succession of appealing and original. Let’s see what surprises they have in store for us in 2018.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald and Chris Kafritsas