If you’re new to Melbourne-based King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, know this: their sound resembles Tame Impala if Kevin Parker started taking harder drugs. And if you’re new to their latest album, know that you should take the title very literally – I’m In Your Mind Fuzz is heavy on the fuzz and impossible to ignore. And you should also know that it is absolutely marvelous.
From the start, Mind Fuzz doesn’t bother with formalities. No time is wasted building anticipation or intensity. Instead the album opens at fever pitch, galloping out of the starting gates with a four-track continual juggernaut of screaming guitars and a go-big-or-go-home approach to reverb. Unstoppable bass lines, mega-dubbed vocals, and fierce riffs drive the first half with relentless intensity. King Gizzard ease up just before the halfway point, swapping the hard licks for synth riffs reminiscent of Yes, clear vocals, and a flute. (Seriously.)
It works well, but shortly after Mind Fuzz hits its critical snag. Two sonic forces dominate the album: the power psych that rules over the beginning and the surf-inspired grooves it rides to the end. The album is obviously divided between the two – the appropriately titled “Slow Jam 1” marks the descent into calmer tempos and spacey sonic landscapes. The problem is not that the switch is delineated by a rough transition. The problem is that the transition does not exist.
Allow me to explain. Seven tracks in, King Gizzard rolls out “Am I In Heaven?” – a spectacular seven-minute tour de force that ventures dangerously close to genius songwriting. This track then gives way to “Slow Jam 1” and the surf-inspired portion of the album without so much as a gentle warning. You can’t help by wonder if you’ve missed something crucial. Fortunately for King Gizzard, they can just barely get away with it. The tracks that follow and comprise something of a second movement for the album are so delectable that the total lack of transition is almost too easy to forgive and forget.
Taken as a whole, I’m In Your Mind Fuzz is undeniably and compulsively enjoyable. And that is exactly why it is the band’s masterpiece (for now). King Gizzard can go hot and heavy on the garage psych and roll easy with fuzzy surf. Not many bands could write an album where the lyric “Everybody wants to suck you dry” plays nice with “I’ll fill her heart with a lot of love,” but the band makes it seem effortless. The question is no longer about how these sonic worlds can coexist. For King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, the question is, hell, why shouldn’t they?