Road Salt Radio Featured Album of the Week: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, in keeping with their steady, multiple-album-per-year pace, released 5 albums in 2022. Out of the 5, our featured album this week, Ice Death Planets Lungs Mushrooms and Lava, stands out for how thematic and musically dense it is. The album is a solid listen front to back, and, in regular Gizz fashion, the songs aren’t shy about pushing well past the 10-minute mark. Extended song lengths like this really allow the band to dig into different musical ideas that show up and get revisited several times a song. Elements of rock, jazz, prog, and funk carry throughout the record and each song is an extended jam full of repeated riffs that mesh and flow with one another but never wear out.
The album was born from in-studio jam sessions where the band would come with a tempo, key, and tuning and then play until they had a track ready. Overdubs and extra creative events are added in post to boost these jam session recessions. This process yielded 7 songs, each distinct in one key way alluded to by the album’s name; Ice Death Planets, Lungs Mushrooms and Lava is a subtle nod to the 7 musical modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phryigian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. It’s also a nod to the mode that each song is played in from track 1 down to track 7.
Personal go-to tracks on the album are “Ice V,” “Hell’s Itch,” and the standout track “Iron Lung.” The second song, “Ice V,” is a cool, minor-key song with a hard drum groove underneath. “Hell’s Itch” is the album's mixolydian track that kicks up the orchestration with flute, sax, and layers of sweeping piano that feel psychedelic, jazzy, and orchestral. “Iron Lung” is a personal favorite on the album because it’s where the improv nature of the album really shines. Jazzy sax melodies in the background and fast, fuzzy guitar parts pop in and out over the basic 2-chord progression that carries this jam. The lyrics are a tongue-and-cheek riff on the Iron Lung, which is also pretty fun.
Ice Death Planets Lungs Mushrooms and Lava is easily one of my most listened-to of the year, and is a must check out for any King Gizz fan.