For half a decade, the sextet has been haunted by one elusive conceptual project that had bested their every attempt (of which there had been several). They first conceived the album back in 2017, a busy year for the group. Within a mere twelve months, they recorded and released five albums of new material, but the band had intended to see out the year with a different album. That album was called Changes, and it’s finally arriving now. “I think of Changes as a song-cycle,” says band member Stu Mackenzie. “Every song is built around this one chord progression – every track is like a variation on a theme. But I don’t know if we had the musical vocabulary yet to complete the idea at that time. We recorded some of it then, including the version of 'Exploding Suns' that’s on the finished album. But when the sessions were over, it just never felt done. It was like this idea that was in our heads, but we just couldn’t reach. We just didn’t know yet how to do what we wanted to do.”
The group abandoned Changes and instead prepared the beguiling Gumboot Soup (the last of five albums the band released in 2017), and were then quickly ensnared by about eight other outlandish ideas that sent them in infinite new directions. But the concept of Changes did not go gently into that good night. “We really have been tinkering with it since then,” Mackenzie adds.
“It’s not necessarily our most complex record, but every little piece and each sound you hear has been thought about a lot,” Mackenzie adds. Indeed, the album has gestated over a fitfully inventive five years. Originally imagined as the group’s fifth album of 2017, it has ended up being the fifth album King Gizzard will release in 2022. Coincidences like this, Mackenzie says, wake up the latent numerologist within him. But the album has taught him that projects operate to their own schedules and are ready when they’re ready.
Good things come to those who wait, and the magnificent Changes is worth every one of the 2,628,000 minutes King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard invested in it. Soaked in the warm sonics of 70s R’n’B and guided by simple chord changes that contain multitudes and rounding out another remarkable year for the group, Changes is a luminous, soft-pop marvel. Come lose yourself in its slow-cooked brilliance.
- Hate Dancin’
- No Body
- Exploding Suns
- Short Change