Happy Tuesday, LemonWire readers! We’re back again with another song to help you power through the work week. And our song of the day today, “Crumbling Castle”, is all power, coming straight from the progressive powerhouse of psychedelic rock and heavy metal: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
We’ve been switching up from our usual routine a bit this week. Rather than focusing on one genre to tie together our daily picks, we want to make sure that we keep it fresh, and not let ourselves become constrained by genre.
That being said, we still want to provide our regular readers with a clear progression they can follow throughout the week. So we’ve taken to a kind of genre-leapfrog. Yesterday, we covered the indie-power pop side with The New Pornographers’ “Play Money”. Our song today sits on the opposite side of the indie spectrum, brushing up against alternative and psychedelic rock.
But before we get into the nuts and bolts of “Crumbling Castle”, let’s first take a look at King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
When most people first hear the name ‘King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’, they tend to think that it’s a joke. But its’ not. It’s only the coolest name in the history of rock bands. And King Gizzard doesn’t limit their experimentation to coming up with cool names. On the contrary, they let experimentation fuel their eclectic sound, resulting in a sonic smorgasbord of styles.
King Gizzard first formed in 2011 in Melbourne, Australia, with the release of their four-track EP “Anglesea”. Since then, they have been extremely prolific, releasing fifteen studio albums in the past seven years, not to mention the various EPs they’ve put out over that time. Oh, and that also includes two just this year, “Fishing for Fishies”, and the upcoming “Infest the Rats’ Nest”, which is set to release later this month.
Out of all the albums King Gizzard has put out, “Polygondwanaland” (the 2017 album featuring “Crumbling Castle”), stands out in a few ways. For one, it wasn’t a concept album like their previous releases, and instead featured a collection of thematically and sonically unrelated tracks. The album was also released as free to download, which the band encouraged listeners to take and share. It’s still available here, if you want it.
Tldr: King Gizzard is a cool name and you should probably listen to them.
“Crumbling Castle” is the epic opening track to “Polygondwanaland”. With a run time of just under eleven minutes, it’s a ride of a song you’ll want to strap yourself in for. At the same time, it’s filled with enough instrumental interludes and fast-paced jams, that it makes pretty good study or work music. I’ve been listening to it on repeat this whole time.
It’s tough to precisely pin down the winding, loose structure of “Crumbling Castle”. The Indian-inspired guitar riffs and mantra-like chanting of the vocals lull you into an almost hypnotic state. But it almost feels like a setup when the verse ends and you’re thrust into progressively more intense instrumental breakdowns. One of the last of these reaches a squealing, shrieking climax, before coming back down in a sludgy, solemn lament.
If there’s one word that could capture the essence of “Crumbling Castle”, it would probably be “epic”. There’s a real sense of grandness and spectacle that King Gizzard brings to the song, one that’s only balanced by the vague, infectious feeling that these guys are having a blast doing exactly what they want.
Tldr: Listen to “Crumbling Castle”.
I’m going to make a real confession here, that might offend some die-hard fans. Listening to “Crumbling Castle” today was the first time I’ve listened to a song by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. I know, I know. The shame is real, folks.
I tell you this as a disclaimer so that what I’m about to say next doesn’t come off as disingenuous. After listening to “Crumbling Castle” (and now, about half of “Polygondwanaland”), I’m officially hooked. And you best believe I’m going to download that album as soon as I’m finished here. So seriously. Take ten minutes out of your day and listen to “Crumbling Castle”. If you’re at all a fan of progressive or psychedelic rock, you’ll find a lot to love.
And with that, our discussion today has come to a close. I hope you enjoyed listening to “Crumbling Castle” by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (I know I did). We’ll be back tomorrow with another song to mark the midweek push (humpday whoo!).