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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity CD (album) cover

NONAGON INFINITY

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.27 | 165 ratings

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GameSwitcher
5 stars ...one of King Gizzard's most popular albums to date! To me this album builds off on of their previous albums "I'm in Your Mind Fuzz" with a very similar garage rock aesthetic. To me this is what Mind Fuzz really should have been, with more progressive elements, catchier melodies, and a lot more drive to the sound. It's certainly one of their best works to date, and I'm inclined to give this one 5 stars simply because (and this is the same reasoning I had for Paper Mâché Dream Balloon) it feels a lot closer to masterpiece than just a really solid album. The overarching story, transitions between songs to feel like the album is one long song, and the psychedelic tone on top of everything makes a really amazing listening experience. This album especially is a lot more personal to me, because it was the first I had listened to, and it opened me up to a lot more modern progressive and psychedelic music. I grew to really appreciate the compositional abilities of especially Stu Mackenzie who made this entire thing basically by himself. I don't understand the lyrics or the story insanely well, but I can sort of gather what is happening in the songs from checking people properly doing an analysis.

Robot Stop Really fantastic start to the entire album, it pretty much sets the stage perfectly for what's to come, a garage rock masterpiece in my opinion. It also introduces the 'Nonagon Infinity opens the door' theme that we get to hear throughout the album, and here it change keys a bunch. I believe that it's one of the first times that the band really messed with doing odd time, and it introduces in a really natural way, using a 7/4 riff to get people listening acquainted. Super energetic and driven with the groove and the double tracked drums(!!!), also has an incredibly catchy melody and lyrics throughout. It really uses e minor, and said pentatonic scale in a really groovy way, and this is what makes it so punchy and driven. The song uses chromatic and whole tone movement to open up the song and add some diversity to the changes. The solo section is a great tradeoff between all the guitars + harmonica. It also sets up a bunch of the references to other songs like Big Fig Wasp, and Hot Water (from the album I'm in Your Mind Fuzz). NONAGON INFINITY OPENS THE DOOR!

Big Fig Wasp Essentially works as a continuation off of Robot Stop with the smooth transitions, and the same tempo + e minor key. It feels a little more sharp and direct than the more grungy Robot Stop. The lyrics are a lot of fun, as are most of them on this album. It continues a lot of the pentatonic stuff that happened in the previous song, with a little more bass action which is very appreciated. Sometimes this one feels just a little too lengthy to be justified, mainly because there's no solo section in this one. That's possibly done to differentiate this one more from Robot Stop? I like the use of the wah pedal on this song (and its continued use on other sections of the album as well). The ending is really satisfying with the loop around back to robot stop, and then the key change to move to d minor which the next song is in.

Gamma Knife Best song on the album (tied with Invisible Face) for me. It's just so consistently good and constantly 1-ups itself as it goes on. Super catchy, lyrics are great, rhythm is great. The time signatures are so much fun, with the 12/8 to 11/8 kind of feel. What's cool about that is the fact that the drums are actually playing something more like 6/4 because the snare is on every 2md eighth note, but the harmonica kind of counteracts that putting the emphasis and downbeat on every 3 eighth notes. This song also has some whole tone progression stuff on the 'gamma knife, nice' part. The drum solo is great midway point of the song, with it being in 11/8 and maintaining a fun feel to it, and also the mix has it panning across the ears which is really cool. There's some nods to People Vultures and Evil Death Roll on this song.

People Vultures The lyrics are probably the most notable thing for me on this one. There's another really great main riff on this one as well. what differentiates this one from the rest of the album is probably the more active chord progression with a lot more movement, opposed to some of the more stagnant (yet awesome) riffs. This one sort of gets overshadowed to me because of the vast amount of great songs on this album. The synth adds some more high pitches that aren't really present in any off the other songs either, as well as the fun pick scrapes at the end. I don't think there are any references in this song? At least any obvious ones.

Mr Beat This one definitely has the most tedious lyrics, however I've really grown to love this song a lot. It's the midway break from all the hyper energetic music that's on this album, with the slower tempo attached to it. The organ really stands out on this one, with sort of a more vintage prog sound to it. 'Once I'm Mr. Beat, only missed a beat' in 7/4 very cheeky King Gizz moment. Apparently (and I looked this up) the verse is the same as Big Fig Wasp, just slowed down which is kind of crazy that attention to detail is put in. The synth at 3:00 is so cool, and if anyone can tell me the name of it that would be greatly appreciated. This song has the best synth use, and the most diverse to me. The soft 'Mr. Beat' lyrics near the end are a fun little addition. The very in your face Evil Death Roll reference as well.

Evil Death Roll Easily one of the best intros on any song in this album (maybe one of their best ever). The phrygian movement on this one is great, and this really adds to the psychedelic environment. One thing I wish is that they could've expanded upon the key change at the lyrics 'Evil Death Roll... Now!'. Very soft organ synths are appreciated during that section as well, that I only noticed recently. I think the part where it delves into complete silence besides the guitar is really interesting, I'm curious what brought upon that choice musically. To me the song goes on for just a tiny bit too long, because it feels like it over explores these riffs that we've already heard a lot. There's a Robot Stop and an Invisible Face reference in this one.

Invisible Face This song has my favourite groove to it by far, the rhythm is just so fun to listen to. The melody has a sort of 7/8 feel over top of the 7/4 overarching idea which is just really cool. This one has very silly lyrics, but that ambiguity and strong melody of them makes it really fun to sing along. The transition into the Latin groove is really great solid, with the added bongo percussion, and the sort of bossa comping guitars to it. The key change leading to the end is so solid, plus the tempo slow down, on first listen I thought they actually just slowed down the whole recording. No obvious references.

Wah Wah The lyrics stand out the most on this one, probably my favourite on the album with how they tell a more direct story at hand. The zurna is a really interesting decision, and could just be the fact that they were setting up to make Flying Microtonal Banana, which sort of feels like instrument foreshadowing. I think the melodic line has a really nice feel to it, with it sort of walking up and down the b minor scale. Definitely not my favourite riff on the album, but adds a different time signature with a fun energy. The vocal harmony at 2:27 I had never noticed upon relisten, but is a really cool addition. It also just has a really strong end to it that leads to the next song. Only reference I spotted was the use of the zurna.

Road Train The weakest song on the album to me. I think it's most just the place of the song on the album, because I think it's a really not a bad song, just a questionable send off back to the beginning (though I do love the ending of this song). The melody is okay, the groove stands out to me as the best thing. It makes it sort of feel like a hillbilly train song to me, would've been fun to use some banjo. 1:57 sounds great however with the low vocals and the guitar added on after.

Issues: My biggest issues tended to just be that the songs could go on for just a bit too long, and that the ending feels a little bit disappointing.

Strengths: Some of the strongest grooves, melodies, and ideas they've ever written. It working as a concept album also really helps add some more interest to the sound. Great lyrics, and it sounds like they just had a lot of fun playing this one. The mix I didn't talk about a whole lot, but is really strong because of just how perfect it fits the style of music here.

Overall the album is really outstanding, it definitely feels worthy of 5 stars to me with just how insanely well this album is crafted, also adding to the fact that these guys made 5 more albums the next year (2017). With how well received this album was, one could only say this was...

GameSwitcher | 5/5 |

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