The fifth album of 2017 from king gizzard finally on physical formats. A ‘collection of songs’ is the most accurate description for this album. Unlike the rest of 2017’s releases – or anything Gizz have produced since 2014’s I’m in Your Mind Fuzz – Gumboot Soup isn’t held together by any semblance of a concept, leading many to dub it a sequel to their 2014 hotchpotch Oddments. Still, there is one relatively consistent element: Gumboot Soup is Gizz’s most thorough embrace of melody ever, with the band going all in on infectious psych-pop tunes. Beginner’s Luck – not just because of its gambling-based lyrics – does this particularly well, sprinkled with Beatles influence and topped off with an exhilaratingly erratic wah-wah guitar solo. The penultimate track I’m Sleepin’ In commits to this idea even further, with a beat so catchy it practically begs to be clapped along to. Elsewhere, the band blend this direction with the jazz-prog rhythms of the previous two records Polygondwanaland and Sketches of Brunswick East. Barefoot Desert and The Last Oasis – both fronted by harmonica player Ambrose Kenny-Smith – achieve this in two distinct ways. The former’s tight groove and yelpy vocals give it a slight Talking Heads vibe, whilst the latter’s heavenly vocals and lush instrumentation sound like a hypnagogic re-imagining of a SoBE track. Muddy Water – as well as being the third Gizz song named after a description of water – is an enthralling prog folk flurry that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Jethro Tull album, elaborately intertwining acoustic guitar, bass and drum rhythms. Later on, Cook Craig fronts Down the Sink, a delectable slice of funk rock unlike anything else the group have done before.
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