King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Willoughby’s Beach
I thought this would be an easy review. Trouble is, garage psych of this quality just makes you want to listen to more of it and in no time you’re getting distracted. I just find it hard to listen to this record all at once, and that’s a good thing, believe me.
Forget the suggestion that there have been garage and psych revivals over the last 45 years – it never went away, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are among the latest to add their names to the honour roll. This is not the slow tripping music of Acid Mothers Temple or the carefully contrived retro sound of The Frowning Clouds, this is short and sharp mega-fuzz with plenty of whooping, echo and delay. The short lyrics serve no real purpose other than to make more noise. It’s Acid Baby Jesus done lo-fi/low-tech. It sounds like it’s created and performed on the spur of the moment, born of a love of old surf psych rather than with a deliberate attempt to recreate or reinvent.
Explaining what this band from Victoria, Australia looks like can be a bit difficult. There seem to be about seven of them in the band. There are two drummers and some guitars and a theremin and a singer but I still haven’t got to see them live, so they might be like the infamous Australian Drop Bear and not even exist. Perhaps it’s all in my imagination. Let me check – no there they are on you-tube playing drums and hi-hat with a pair of maracas, wandering around the stage as they attack their guitars, and spitting water at the crowd. It must be real.
When the digital age was still young it was fun to sit around with friends and play a load of these types of songs from different bands one after another. You never knew too far ahead what would go on next, especially if you were taking turns. Many singles got played, partly because it’s what you could afford, and partly because the good garage bands only released 7″singles or EP s. There were some good compilations of 60′s garage psych released in the 80′s too with bands like The Seeds and The Electric Prunes plus many lesser-known bands like Count Five, The Squires and The Answer. The end of the age of vinyl also saw the likes of The Slickee Boys, The Primates, the Ramblers, Plasticland, The Sickidz, and dozens more. It wasn’t about albums, least of all concept albums. It was about noisy songs. And above all, it was about vinyl.
Anyway, back to the record. It’s a 10” vinyl EP called ‘Willoughby’s Beach’. It’s also on download and CD, which the band describe as the “shitty version”. It has nine short songs that are just made to be listened to with somewhere between two and a dozen friends. Put it on and I would be surprised if you don’t get the urge to grab a handful of other garage psych and make a night of it. You can even spit water at each other if you like. This record is like the blue touchpaper on an enormous firework.
And with that I can tell you I’ve just listened to it all the way through twice in a row. Finally!
Available now through Bandcamp
Posted by Gilbert Potts
Tags: Bandcamp, Gilbert Potts, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Willoughby's Beach