Album Review: King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard ‘12 Bar Bruise’

It’s here. It’s KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD better than you’ve ever heard them. It’s literally everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more.

The first sound you hear is some muffled background noise. One single guitar strum makes your ears perk up, and then as if you didn’t expect it, you are thrown into ‘Elbow’ with an energy that can only be expected of the seven piece demon that is KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD. But we have discussed ‘Elbow.’ We have listened to ‘Bloody Ripper,’ we have experienced these moments in time and reminisce them with a puff of hazy smoke, a fervent head bang of appreciation, however you take your GIZZARD. This is bigger than that. This album is a… metamorphosis of sorts.

While the boys manage to keep the manic, grunged up, Gizzardy vibe so appreciated in ‘Willoughby’s Beach,’ there is something new and exciting about ‘12 Bar Bruise.’ They have expanded and grown, experimenting in songs like title track ’12 Bar Bruise,’ recorded through 4 iphones placed around the room and lead vocalist Stu Mackenzie singing straight into one. The end result has been described as sounding like “a cheerleader being towed on the back of a ute with 7 juveniles at the wheel.” (SOS) I’ll leave that up to you to agree or disagree at your leisure. ‘Sam Cherry’s Last Shot’ is also something new for KING GIZZARD. Stu states, it “was originally written and recorded as an instrumental. We considered synching a chapter of Cormal McCarthy’s Blood Meridian to the song but that was too hard. Brod is an absolute western nut and offered to read a chapter about Sam Cherry from the 1883 novel 33 Years Among Our Wild Indians which we included as a voice over on the song.” The voiceover is a great addition, but I’ve got to admit it’s the guitar in that song that really gets me in a tizzy.

Then you have classic GIZZARD excellence with ‘Muckraker,’ which is simply “a song about shit kicking,” and the 1:59 second ‘Footy Footy,’ where Joe adlibs through a rollcall list of all his favourite players. ‘Nein’ and ‘Garage Liddiard’ are two of my favourite tracks, pieces almost reminiscent of ‘Willoughby’s Beach,’ yet somehow just that step above. ‘Uh Oh, I Called Mum’ recounts bass player Lucas’ unfortunate series of events in the first aid tent at last year’s Meredith Music Festival wrapped in tin foil; and ‘Sea of Trees’ is an unexpected wind down (when I say wind down, remember who we are talking about), and completes the album with a lyrical element that hasn’t been over exercised throughout the record.

Sometimes bands get lost in their image; sometimes people presume their playing music because their too lazy to be doing anything else. They like to party. They like to mess around. Sure KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD like to party. And sure, they like to mess around. But now something else has become clear. These guys have skills. ‘12 Bar Bruise’ is a testament to their pure musical ability, creativity, and ability to grow and become something bigger than they were before. Maybe something bigger than anyone has been before. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

’12 Bar Bruise’ will be available from Sept 7th, 2012.


September 8 – The Nash, Geelong

September 12 – Big Sound, Brisbane

September 21 – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine

September 28 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

October 6 – The Tote, Melbourne

October 7 – The Tote, Melbourne

October 12 – The Ed Castle, Adelaide

October 19 – The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart

Words by Allie Speers



‘Bit of a young gun; still sledging through last year of high school in fact. When not being mediocre in schooling, excelling in general tomfoolery and g00D +iMezzz! … that’s how my generation speak right?