Published Apr 24, 2020There are two reasons to record a live album: to permanently document an event or to capture a band's live energy. While neither approach is better or worse, the end results are completely different. With its studio-recorded interludes and sporadic crowd noise, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's Chunky Shrapnel falls firmly into the latter category
While no-one ever doubted the Aussie psych-rockers' ability to slay on stage, imagining the setlist for a band that's released fifteen full-lengths since 2012 seems unfathomable. However, not long into Chunky Shrapnel you realize it's not so much about the band being live as about what being live does to the band. They're tight, experimental and sped-up. Standouts "Wah Wah" and "Let Me Mend the Past" showcase King Gizzard's versatility and musicianship.
The band's usual sense of restraint isn't present live, culminating in epic 19-minute closer "A Brief History of Planet Earth," which was recorded across four cities. It starts with hooky hit "Rattlesnake" and ends as a screaming jam session.
King Gizzard's offerings, by their experimental nature, are a disjointed product. Rather than fight this, Chunky Shrapnel thunders headlong into it. Songs that don't run smoothly into each other, clashing genres side-by-side, and three pre-recorded atmospheric tracks sprinkled throughout show continuity is of no concern. While this jarring approach may not give you the best sense of a King Gizzard show, it certainly captures what makes them so appealing. (Flightless / ATO)