After a year long break from their five album run in 2017, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard returned with a new sound, a new drive and a new source of inspiration. The result is perhaps the band’s most refined and impressive work to date; quite the compliment given the band’s consistently commendable discography. If Fishing For Fishies does one thing, it’s live up to the theme of boogieing, serving as one of the most enjoyable albums you’re likely to hear this year.
You could forgive a band for perhaps taking it easy on it’s fourteenth album in seven years, maybe they have exhausted all of their avenues by now and will simply make an album of some of their best sounding themes. The thing with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is that they aren’t your typical band. Their chameleon like approach to music has made them one of the freshest acts of the decade, whether that be in the form of progressive concept rock (Murder Of The Universe), acid-fuelled garage rock bangers (Nonagon Infinity) or psychedelic pop anthems (Oddments); so it will come as little to no surprise that King Giz have struck gold again in their latest venture.
Fishing For Fishies takes on much more of a blues-y sound with slick boogie-woogie guitar riffs and staggered drum beats, as well as a huge focus on melody and catchiness in the hooks. The album opener and title track is a sweet and serene track about how sorry lead singer Stu Mackenzie feels for “fishies” as they continue to have their lives halted by humans fishing. It’s an adorably delivered song with harmonicas, finger-picked guitars and a harmonic vocal delivery that could bring peace to the angriest of people.
The theme of boogie rock is apparent not just in delivery but also the song titles themselves, with no less than three songs on here containing the word “boogie” in some capacity. Boogieman Sam is a great Southern Rock sounding anthem in which the protagonist sounds villainous but all he’s doing is dancing all night long, even if he does “dance like a demon”. The guitars are beautifully paced and work hand-in-hand with the straining harmonica that can be heard throughout, while the lyrics are as quirky as the vocals performing them.
Lead single Cyboogie is a nod to previously referenced Murder Of The Universe character Han-Tyumi, a cyborg who gave up his humanity for immortality in a different form. The track is a electronic mood board of anthemic sounds and synthesisers and, for me, an excellent way to close the album. It works well conceptually in a way that sees Mackenzie move more and more out of the realms of typical band sounds as the album progresses.
The best of the boogie trio is track four, Plastic Boogie, a song that calls out humanity’s over-reliance on plastics and the effect it has on the ocean; linking back to his level of sadness and sorrow for fish on the first song. The riff is honestly orgasmic, just absolutely lathered in funk and groove while the vocals ride the wave with sumptuously timed flows and catchy chant-style verses.
The album doesn’t settle for just boogie however, opting sometimes for tranquil brilliance on The Bird Song and outright country-rock blues on This Thing and Acarine. As a sheer collection of songs this thing has it all, which is truly to be expected at this stage from a band who never fail to surprise us. This is more than simply blues rock or country ballads, it is a throwback album crafted inside a robotic age of technicolour and experimentation; methods we experience as listeners more and more as the track listing runs on.
This album was well worth the wait. It was suggested in the build up to this album that King Gizzard may have exhausted all of their options in that mammoth 2017 run of theirs, but shame on any of you who doubted the kings of gizzards, lizards and wizards. Fishing For Fishies not only gives them a valid claim as the world’s most consistently solid band, but it may also go toe-to-toe with Nonagon Infinity as the best album they’ve ever produced. Get ready for one hell of a good time listening to this, as Alex Turner famously said: “get on your dancing shoes, you sexy little swine” and there’s no better soundtrack for doing just that then this album here.