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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard & Mild High Club: Sketches of Brunswick East CD (album) cover

KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD & MILD HIGH CLUB: SKETCHES OF BRUNSWICK EAST

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.60 | 93 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

GameSwitcher
5 stars This is a particular style of music that they haven't really touched since this album, but I think this album works perfectly, blending the jazzy chords and melodic notes with the indie rock that they oh-so-love. I'll be honest, I wasn't thinking that I'd be as fond of this album as I am now, I was definitely considering 4 stars, but didn't think I'd bump it to 5. In the context of listening all the way through, this album flows so well, blending the acoustic and electric instruments with ease all the way throughout the entire album. The mood is consistent, yet has diversity when it comes to specific songs, and the songs hold up really well by themselves. This diversity is definitely aided by the fact that they worked with Alex from Mild High Club who certainly influenced the album in a more jazzy direction with the instruments and chords especially. The synths that they use are really fun to listen to, especially the mellotron, microtonal synths, and the various electric keyboards that they use. Harmonically this is one of their strongest albums because of how experimental they got with them. In previous albums like Nonagon Infinity were pretty straight forward with their chords, but this one uses a lot of alt chords to match the chill, jazzy aesthetic. They also went with a more city vibe on this one, using street sound effects throughout that make it sound like you're listening to this outside, which is awesome because it actually feels like you're in Brunswick East. They pull inspiration from some of their previous albums like Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, a little bit from Flying Microtonal Banana, and Oddments. This album features a return to some microtonal music which works amazingly in the sections it's used. It features a lot more instrumental interludes throughout, and flows all the way through like one long recording which works really well.

Sketches of Brunswick East I This one does a great job setting up not only the tone of the album in its entirety but also the melodies heard on each of the 3 self-titled songs. The melody is set up great, and I love how it develops over the course of the songs. I love the vast difference that this album has with its predecessor, especially seen in this song as it's very chill and collected. The delicate acoustic instruments on this one like the flute (and the cool effects they layer on it) as well as the piano. Overall this song is a great opening to the album!

Countdown Now I love pretty much everything about this song except for the vocals. Stu's strained vocals on this one just don't really work for me, I used to absolutely hate them, now I'm just not fond of them. When the song layers the vocals on top of each other at the end, that is pretty cool and works for the song. This song does make up for it for having some really cool time signature changes and the flow of the song harmonically works great. The vibraphone on this one is a great addition to the song and adds the acoustic vibe that they have going. Also the electric keyboard solo on this one is really good, I love how it pans between ears mimicking the dizzying nature of the solo itself moving quickly.

D-Day The counting down lyrics on this one and the bass line stand out for me the most on this track, as well as the return of some microtonal synths and guitars. They blend the instruments really well on this track and it sounds really good with just how much is going on rhythmically. The little synth solo sounds really great, and I love how cool some of the effects on these synths are to get these sounds. The ending playing Tezeta but slowed down is pretty cool, and another trend on this album of imitating a record skipping sound.

Tezeta The varied vocals on this one really make this chorus especially sound very chant-like. I also enjoy how it uses Joey, Stu, Han-Tyumi, and other people to tell the story, not just one person in typical Gizz fashion. This one is certainly one of the more catchy songs on this album and it can be a little hard to follow on the verse, but it works so well seeing how playful it feels. The chord progression moving from i-iiø compliments the vocals a lot as well, and once it finally resolves to the V it sounds great. The second verse switching up to 6/8 illustrates the amount of creativity these guys have, really wanting to play with the time signatures in these songs to assist the storytelling. Also when they bring it back to 12/8 it sounds super resolved. I'm not sure of what synth they use at the end of the solo but it sounds great. Also this song supposedly gives us more lore so points for that as well!

Cranes, Planes, Migraines Probably my favourite of the instrumental interludes on this album. The 7/8 feel on this one especially stands out, and when it bounces between 4/4 it creates a really fun song to count out in your head. The bass line is great on this one, which seems to be a trend on this album. They definitely focused on a lot more of the instrumental stuff going on, not that they don't on other albums, just that this one seemed to get a lot of love. Also the harmonised flutes sound awesome.

The Spider and Me Certainly the silliest song on this list and the most absurd lyrics wise. I mean it's literally about being in love with a spider so uh, yeah. Pretty strange. Doesn't deter me from this one, honestly it's really fun to sing this one, and the lyrics have some really pretty moments like the "Laze in the afternoon sun, gazing at each other's beauty". The mallet percussion really aids the rest of the song on this one. Also the wah pedal sounds really good, especially with the various strumming patterns throughout. I like to think that they accidentally made the section that sounds very 'bow-chicka-wow-wow' in mood and just decided to roll with it, but who knows. Definitely one of my favourite songs on this album.

Sketches of Brunswick East II Another really good interlude, and listening all the way through, it's nice to get an album with more instrumental moments. The old timey intro is a fun change of pace for the songs, and transitions pretty well with another record switch kind of moment. It helps that this song is also in a different key, aiding with some of the change that's needed between the 3 songs. The flute melody sounds great once again, bringing back the familiar theme. The chordal electric keyboard solo is such a cool addition especially with how it moves out of key. I'm pretty sure the tonal centre is like an F phrygian, and the piano moves between Bb, B♮, Eb, Db, to resolve to Fmaj7/C, which can certainly be given credit to Alex from Mild High Club and his input. Along with those keyboard additions, the electric flourishes in the background are a really great detail on this track especially. All the instruments on this track blend really well, and create a great atmosphere.

Dusk to Dawn on Lygon Street I enjoy the beginning and the end of this song a lot, they set up an entirely different riff and it's a lot of fun. Also the intro/outro are really interesting chordally. The bass line is really front and centre in portions of this song which is really cool to listen to, especially with how melodic it is. The lyrics are so cute, and have some of the prettiest imagery on the album. The extra vocals that Cookie does are a great addition, and add to the silly nature of the song. When the bass does the minor modulation with the added sound effects, it really puts you in the location that they set up, and actually feels like the sun is setting and rising. Honestly this song is probably my favourite that Cookie has made.

The Book This is my favourite song that King Gizz has ever made. Easily it takes first place and I would honestly rate this song 11/10 just for how good it is. The microtones in this one and the riff that plays at the beginning with the synth sounds amazing, it adds to the eeriness of the story, and hearing it return throughout the song is so effective. I love how the story reflects the fact that every city has its problems and dangers. In this case the theme about religious insanity is so cool and really creepy. Hearing this song for the first time gave me chills for how well it worked for me. Especially when the instrumentation thins out and he says 'God, gave me a knife' is SO good. The sirens in the background as well, still reflecting the street sounds we hear in the album but a lot more ominous. Stu's vocals on this song are some of his best in my opinion, mainly because his voice is gravely enough and in the style that he does his metal songs in, but also because it fits the character he's singing as. Also the vocals in the background of this one work really well especially in the 'So I set up my sign, and told the passers by' section. The instrumentation is perfect on this one, utilising the microtonal synths alongside the bass, wah pedal, and excess synths with the latin style drumming. Every instrument gets its own highlight on occasion, especially the Latin percussion. The solos on this one work incredibly well, the back and forth between the toms and the keyboard is just so perfect. Chordally the song mostly just moves from E- to E diminished and it works so well, especially with the microtones thrown in. Also the chromatic bass when heading back into the chorus is amazing, and a fun switch up in the progression. The form of the song and especially with how it breaks down after the solo's and strips down to just drums and melody works really well to set up going back into the final chorus. Genuinely my favourite bits of composition from them ever, merging simple and complex ideas when needed and it flows so well. I will never forget the first time I heard this song and immediately adding it to my playlist.

A Journey to (S)hell Not a super amazing song, and it's especially overshadowed by the much better songs on this one. Also in terms of transition songs, this one is definitely the weakest one to me. It's got a really good bass line, some different synths (some work better than others, but they get a bit pitchy on this one). The funny little sound effects on this one are good, as well as the ending that teases You Can Be Your Silhouette using the distorted record skip style cuts.

Rolling Stoned Now in contrast, this one is probably the best transition song on the album. The melody is fantastic on this one, really catchy and really fun to count with the added time signature stuff. The instruments on this one are really well balanced and offer a lot in the way of rhythmic and harmonic interest. The use of the synths is much better on this one, featuring more interesting solos and just a really great vibe all in all. The acoustic piano on this one adds just an extra bit of instrument diversity, plus the kind of lo-fi jazz vibe works really well, and everything blends incredibly nice. The ending as well is great with how it cuts off before starting another A section.

You Can Be Your Silhouette This song especially is incredibly reminiscent of Paper Mâché Dream Balloon it is. It really pulls back the mood to an even more calming tone and melody throughout, even with the various riffs. The use of harmonica amplifies this, it's just very well formed overall. The boss drums really stand out and make this one unique, plus the really great chord progression in the first section. The transitions to the phrygian section near the end works great seeing as how different the riffs are, they just make it work so well. I like the super ambiguous ending, but I think I would've preferred a return to the A section, that's just me though.

Sketches of Brunswick East III This one is just another wraparound to the beginning theme, and sort of acts as the sun setting on the town as the album finishes. The theme feels finalised and complete, repeating the same progression and melody that we've heard, except maybe a little more calming. I enjoy how it's shorter and doesn't dwell super long, but once again this final instrumental doesn't really top any of the other ones on the album either. However it serves its purpose as the final song on the album.

Issues: The album has so many instrumentals that some get overshadowed compared to others, and some of the synth choices I consider to be a bit questionable. Really minimal complaints honestly.

Strengths: It's well formatted, interesting, unique, and brings a lot to the table seeing as how they worked with an outside person to help make this album. It has some really great melodies and lines, and keeps its ideas fresh and consistent. A really amazing entry in their catalogue.

This album after sitting on it for a while grew on me so much. I hold King Gizzards calm and collected albums in high regard, mainly with the level of balance and interest that they produce. This one's probably around the 4.7 stars for me, with it being one my favourite albums they've ever released.

GameSwitcher | 5/5 |

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