Despite taking about a month to get to, I did finally sit down to listen to this new King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard album. I have not listened to any of this band’s previous records but was drawn to this because of some positive word of mouth I had been hearing from some friends of mine.
I think the lack of expectation helped to fuel my enjoyment of this album. I first turned this album on while driving and I remember feeling shocked with how long the opening track was. It was then that I checked and saw that I was actually three songs in. Each of the tracks transition into each other smoothly without a noticeable cut, making this the Birdman of garage rock albums. Not only do the nine tracks connect to act as a singular, 41 minute track, but the final track actually loops back to the first track, meaning this album can theoretically just go on forever without cutting.
Even with a concept like this, Nonagon Infinity works as more than just a gimmick. The fast instrumentation that plays through most of this record helps to make this feel like a crazy ride. While occasionally muffled, the vocals here also have plenty of personality as well. The occasional howls and chanting of certain lyrics are all super memorable.
While the argument can be made that the instrumentation can get redundant, which is kind of the point, King Gizzard does throw some interesting sounds to make some of these tracks stand out. “Mr. Beat” seems incredibly influenced by 1960s pop-rock, with the instruments mostly slowed down and the lyrics repetitive. There is also a moment in the middle of “Invisible Face” that has had me polarized. We get this somewhat tropical instrumental that goes on a little too long and feels like elevator music after a little while.
As for the lyrics, there is some grotesque and dark themes going on throughout this record. There are moments that seem gross and apocalyptic like on “Big Fig Wasp” where we are treated to images of wasps growing in fruit and hornets living in the singer’s throat. “Gamma Knife” could potentially be about cancer as a gamma knife is a form of radiation and lyrics like “All I wanted was my youth.” The next track “People-Vultures” also uses creepy imagery to its advantage. “Headless gurus,” “wild dogs escaping from their cage” and “ulcers feeding on my skin” are all sung about here making this an especially graphic moment.
This progression into darker territories continues as the final two tracks utilize Satanic imagery. “Wah Wah” does not even attempt to cover these lyrics as we get mentions of “hoofed foots” and hordes surrounding “your favorite devil.” This song uses dark images so effectively that it genuinely makes you feel disturbed when you try to picture what is being sung about. The same goes for the final track, if you can really call it that, which uses quick instrumentation to accompany lyrics about the arrival of Satan’s spawn. The track builds up to lyrics about the coming of the titular nonagon infinity as it slows down to work itself back up to the first track “Robot Stop.”
This is the kind of dark, unique rock music I enjoy and am so glad I was able to eventually get to this. This record is undoubtedly not for everyone but fans of garage rock will definitely want to seek this out. This record also is great running music and has kept me going through a few of my morning runs. I definitely hope King Gizzard keeps up this ambition on their future projects and I cannot wait to hear more from them.
Best Tracks: Robot Stop, Big Fig Wasp, Gamma Knife, People-Vultures, Mr. Beat, Wah Wah, Road Train
Worst Track: Invisible Face