12 Bar Bruise

by: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's first album, 12 Bar Bruise, is a pummeling rock & roll record that builds on the promise of their first couple of releases and blasts their expansive garage rock sound straight into orbit. The album barely lets up from start to finish, with the tempos set right around top speed and the guitars set to destruction. It's one ripping rocker after another, with vocalist Stu Mackenzie's vocals seemingly fed through a paper shredder and the rest of the band flailing like mad to keep up. Picking highlights is like picking a favorite child; they are all equally strong and violent, and able to knock down the garage walls and take over the neighborhood, if not the world. Apart from one song, a spoken word piece by author Broderick Smith, the album comes across like flickering scenes from a wild frat party, one where inhibitions are tossed out the window and things happen that are best forgotten the next day. It's a loose and frantically fun album that doesn't have time for niceties like fidelity, but doesn't skimp on hooks either. When making records this party-centric and wild, bands too often forget it's the tunes that keep people coming back for more. Because King Gizzard included plenty of great tunes on 12 Bar Bruise, the record stands up to repeated listenings -- even if the studio where it was hatched probably collapsed after the last note was captured. Though it may not sound exactly as pure as some garage rock revivalists may like, 12 Bar Bruise perfectly captures the glorious sense of abandon and freedom of the best garage songs, positioning King Gizzard as a rock & roll force to be reckoned with. ~ Tim Sendra

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