King Gizzard have smashed 2017. When they claimed they were going to release five albums in one year, it’s fair to say many fans were doubtful they’d achieve that aim. It’s late October and they’ve found time for a comprehensive world tour, organising a festival and they’ve just released the first single from their as yet untitled fourth album of the year, all of which have been unique in their own way. Going by the single, the new album will be psychedelic, slow burning and loud. ‘Crumbling Castle’ is like an amalgamation of every King Gizzard album together in one ten minute opus, with the unique elements of all of their albums making appearances.
The track begins relatively subdued, just bass and drums in an odd time signature (they switch so often it’s hard to keep track) and introduces a brief first verse before the main theme is presented (played on guitar and sung by Stu Mackenzie, as always). The middle sections flit between sections reminiscent of Flying Microtonal Banana’s Saharan sparseness and I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’s straight up psych licks but meandering in the way that Quarters! more jam-like sections did. Some flutes make a brief appearance as an apparent reference to Paper Maché Dream Balloon before reintroducing the theme and beginning the long ratchet up to the climax, Stu singing the chorus over just a synthesiser arpeggio and those signature King Gizzard guitar whooshes. The urgency ratchets up to Nonagon Infinity levels before everything breaks down into the dark fantasy of Murder of the Universe, complete with that crunchy fuzz sound and sludgy riffs. The way it seems to hint at Gizz’s past almost feels like fan service, like this is what all of the experiments have been building up to. If the album can match the scale and ambition of ‘Crumbling Castle’ we’re in for a real treat. I still don’t understand how they’re going to get this and another album out by the end of the year though. A King Gizzard Christmas maybe?
Words by Jack Hollis