Album Review: King Gizzard & The Lizard – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon

By Angus Ingram, guest writer

KGWLMelbourne psychedelic garage rock band, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, released their seventh album since the band formed in 2010. Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, released on their record label Flightless, began as the first King Gizz album without a theme. Lead vocalist and guitarist of the band, Stu, said “I was starting to get over concept records.”

Themed albums weren’t the only thing that King Gizzard had grown tired of, they also wanted to get away from electric guitar and bass. This is when the album found a concept. The second album of the year for the alternative rock band contains no electric instruments, which had been a large focus for King Gizzard since they started. Acoustic guitars, flute, double bass, drums and some clarinet and fiddle is all that you will here on this mellow but upbeat “collection of short unrelated songs.”

The first song on the 12 track LP, Sense, is as psychedelic and jazz-fused as the last album with a smooth, playful approach due to a lack of amping up. The title track is packed with flute, harmonica and a tasteful shaker. It’s a lively song and feels like you are in a children’s television show. The melody throughout the song is emphasised by the vocals and flute harmonising.

The very last track on the album, Paper Mâché, is a suitable blend of the majority of the songs off the album. The tempo is consistent throughout, which gives a completely new feel to the song. It’s a very light and dreamy track which isn’t something you would have thought would go with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. To have this song as the final track gives the album a definite end and sums up what you’ve listened to. The tease of having only a few bars of the melody from each song just makes you want to listen to it all over again. The album has a very loose feel to it, as it had been recorded in an empty shipping container at Stu’s parent’s farm in rural Victoria. Like most, King Gizzard’s album Paper Mâché Dream Balloon is easy going and has that real rough garage band sound in their recordings which is something they pull of so well and suites their overall sound and vibe.

This album completely works with the acoustic instruments used. The jazz/rock fusion combined with the acoustic lead guitar is a perfect combination for soulful, chilled LP. Paper Mâché Dream Balloon is quite playful and mellow compared to the bands earlier psycho rock albums. But don’t be put off; this album is anything but absent of King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard’s full psychedelic flavours.