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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - 12 Bar Bruise CD (album) cover


King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard


Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.80 | 42 ratings

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Stressed Cheese
3 stars 12 Bar Bruise and Eyes Like The Sky seem to come up very rarely when KGLW is discussed. Case in point: neither have a review on this site yet. Hell, I initially wasn't even interested in adding these first two Gizzard albums to my collection, as I wasn't that impressed from sampling them on the old YouTube dot com. But since I love some of their later albums so much, I figured I might as well go for the full set. And if I'm doing that, I might as well get the least interesting albums out of the way (don't you hate it when you already went through all the great albums by a band and all you have left are more middling parts of their discography?).

I'm glad I did decide to get this, because it's a lot better than I had initially expected. Sure, there's nothing prog- related here to be found. Based on this album and the recordings that preceded it, you would never guess prog albums like Nonagon Infinity or Polygondwanaland were their future. This is pretty much garage rock with some psychedelic touches here and there. Oh, and it's loud. It's very, very loud. It's probably the loudest CD I have in my collection right now. Is that a problem? Well, if you listen primarily through headphones and have tinnitus you might want to steer clear.

Loudness and an old-school production style is typical for KGLW, but on here it's almost a parody of how they sound on later albums. The guitars here are roaring and feedback-y like you would expect, but the different approach to vocals and the lack of a second drummer might surprise those familiar with later albums. Main vocalist Stu Mackenzie writes almost everything on here, as is usual, and while there's nothing brillant like on later albums, the songs here show that he can come up with some nice hooks and choruses that will stay in your head after listening. But man, can it be hard to appreciate some of them with how rough this album sounds at times. And with how creative later Liz Wiz albums get, it's a bit dissapointing that most songs on here are pretty similar to each other.

That is, they're loud, short garage rock songs with simple lyrics. But there are some songs that add a bit of variety to the proceedings. There's Sam Cherry's Last Shot, a precursor to Eyes Like The Sky. There's Bloody Ripper, which has the least aggressive sound on the album despite the title implying the opposite. There's the title track, which sounds like it was recorded inside the world's most echoey cardboard box, and doesn't sound like it has Stu singing on it (it's not like I can really tell with the song's recording quality). And then there's Cut Throat Boogie, a cut throat boogie. If you're familiar with King Gizzard's 2019 boogie rock album Fishing for Fishies , you won't be surprised that this one's co-written and sung by Ambrose Kenny- Smith. None of these are particular highlights in my opinion, mind you, but these are the primary sources of variety on the record. No, my favorites are the more 'typical' songs on this album. Muckracker, Nein, Garage Liddiard and Sea of Trees have the strongest/most memorable melodies. I would describe them for you, but I'm not creative enough to come up with four different ways to rephrase the first sentence of this paragraph.

If you're a prog fan first and foremost, this should probably not be your point of entry into the Gizzverse. But if you find yourself enjoying KGLW, do yourself a favor and give this humble first disc of theirs a try. I promise that before too long you'll be humming Nein to yourself whether you want to or not.

Rating: 7/10

Highlight of the album: Garage Liddiard

Stressed Cheese | 3/5 |


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