Omnium Gatherum

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

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Omnium Gatherum Review

by Tim Sendra

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard became an indie rock institution by constantly evolving, quickly and effortlessly shifting their approach from album to album; in the process, they compiled a breathtakingly wide-ranging yet tightly constructed catalog. On 2022's double album Omnium Gatherum, the band abandon their usual way of constructing albums around a unified sound or theme and cut loose, jumping wildly from style to style -- some tried and true, some brand new. The lack of focus becomes clear right away on the epic-length opener "The Dripping Tap." It begins meanderingly, then launches into a formless jam that stretches out over many minutes of guitar interplay and repetitive chanting. The track only turns into something resembling a coherent song 17 minutes into it, then ends abruptly before it can explore much further. After the less-than-thrilling start, the group revisit some old avenues with diminishing returns -- the dusty microtonal "Magenta Mountain" and the thrash metal "Gaia" -- and mosey through some lite jazz-funk reminiscent of Sketches of Brunswick East minus the weirdness. They dig a little deeper into funky beats, sounding like Beck on "Persistence" and Tame Impala on the shimmery "Kepler-22b," and they shockingly take a jarring left turn into rap on two tracks. "Sadie Sorceress" is a ringer for post-Paul's Boutique Beastie Boys, and "The Grim Reaper" sounds like Eminem-lite; both are decent pastiches, but it's hard to figure out why the band decided to put them on the album instead playing them for friends as a laugh. Along with these gaffes, King Gizzard stumble on a few other stylistic swerves too. "Presumptuous" sounds like a (very unnecessary) straight take on "Smooth"-era Santana, "Candles" is a frothy attempt at Nilsson-style sweetness that feels pointless, and "Red Smoke"'s laid-back bluesiness is just on the wrong side of sleepy. While the band have always been about trying out new styles and sounds, they've never sounded like they were going through the motions until now. Only a handful of tracks have any sort of excitement or invention baked in. "Evilest Man" is a fun, strutting track that combines an ultra-poppy melody with wobbly synths and the occasional blast of blown-out guitars, "Blame It on the Weather" is a funky song that works thanks to the nasty guitar breaks, glammy falsetto vocals, and a sharp Funkadelic-y hook, while "The Garden Goblin"'s lo-fi bedroom prog is cheerfully twee. These few moments aside, the album is lacking the kind of daring and breathless thrills of LPs like Nonagon Infinity or the oddball charm of King Gizzard's microtonal excursions or any of the grandeur of their synth-heavy prog records. It's less a potential greatest-hits album than a map of roads better not taken, of songs that needed a bit more cooking, or of random moments that don't add up to much of anything. It's the first truly disappointing album that the band have released and the first where they sound like they are running out of gas instead of hitting on all cylinders.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 18:17 Amazon
2 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 06:05 Amazon
3 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 03:13 Amazon
4 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 05:11 Amazon
5 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 04:27 Amazon
6 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 03:08 Amazon
7 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 07:39 Amazon
8 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 02:57 Amazon
9 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 02:31 Amazon
10 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 03:48 Amazon
11 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 03:06 Amazon
12 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 04:53 Amazon
13 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 03:46 Amazon
14 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 04:22 Amazon
15 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 04:34 Amazon
16 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 02:23 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick