A tonal change up introduces a new dazzling synthetic soundscape
With an urge to stay ever-changing, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard delivered their newest musical creation, Butterfly 3000. The band seems to have left behind their high-gain progressive rock tones for a more synth-driven pop sound. Butterfly 3000 comes in as their second album of 2021, following after their album L.W. that was released this past February. This new record is the band’s 18th studio record since their debut album 12 Bar Bruise back in 2012. The band clearly went back to the drawing board and built a whole new sound for this record, building songs from arpeggiated synth melodies creating happy psych-pop tracks.
The six-piece Melbourne-born group consists of Stu Mackenzie, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Joey Walker, Cook Craig, Lucas Harwood and Michael Cavanagh. Throughout their extensive career, the group has built an empire of albums, with each ranging in tone and style, which has led to some serious recognition. The band has been nominated for several awards through the years, winning five of the four nominations for the AIR (Australian Independent Records Awards) along with several other trophy wins under their belts. Recorded within their home throughout the pandemic, Butterfly 3000 is a total cosmic sensation that leaves anyone who comes in contact with the record in an uplifted, happy mood. Listeners will definitely hear the calmer, synthetic difference from their last three-part experimental albums released in 2020, with L.W early this year completing the three-parter.
Kicking off the album, “Yours” sets the tone with a sparkling arpeggio of synths met with driving percussion. The vocals are airy and sweet, deeply embedded within a swimming soundscape of swirling elements that flow through the ears. A fun twangy guitar comes through in the middle, delivering a fresh real instrument among the synths. The vocals in this really come in second as the star of the show here is instrumentals.
“Interior People” chimes in like the beginning to a Goonies-style ‘80s movie. A synth-style harpsichord embellished with a pop bass rises into a lush ensemble of guitar and drums. For this song, the vocals stand out in the forefront more so than “Yours.” They do not get lost within the instrumentals. “Interior People” has a more prog-pop feel, leaning more on a standard pop structure with a new wave element of creative synths.
Another popular track off the record is “Shanghai.” This track is built with an interesting synth replication of traditional Asian instruments adding a fun world element to the album. There is a MIKA-type high pitch vocal that sings the hooks that, at first, catches the ears off guard. Though quickly, it begins to fit perfectly within the song, giving it an element that is not found in any other track.
Closing out the record is the title track “Butterfly 3000.” It is the perfect way to end this upbeat and uplifting album. The song carries an endly synth loop accompanied by a pounding heartbeat, all sounded by pure aromatic and refreshing vocals. It truly frees the mind and makes the listener’s head feel light and clear, giving the effect of free-floating. Though in the end, the band brings back a taste of their heavy, high-gain energy from L.W. mixed with the new synthetic pulse of Butterfly 3000.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are known for ever-growing and ever-changing, so fans should expect just that with Butterfly 3000. This album is a feel-good synth prog-pop record that genuinely dazzles and uplifts from start to finish.