The best record you’re not listening to totally high right now

May 21, 2016 Originally published on SFGate

Know this now: Beyoncé’s got nothing on King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Sure, Bey spent a few million to make “Lemonade” and the sumptuous, stunning set of interlinked videos – AKA the “visual album” – that accompany it. And lo, you are impressed. “Ingenious, visionary record of the year,” you almost think, mostly because of “Hurt Yourself.”

But then, this happens. The wry fates of the Interweb align to reveal this gloriously whacked-out, completely bonkers 7-person Aussie band of manic psychedelic misfits known as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – and by the name alone you know some part of your ID is about to be dislodged and spun like a top, as the gods just giggle and howl.

Behold, the Gizzard’s blistering new record, “Nonagon Infinity,” a riotous, noisy fuzz-psych-pop masterpiece of a semi-concept album/thrill ride that manages to do something so ingenious, so laughably brilliant, Beyoncé will surely be calling these maniacs any minute now, to crib the idea.

See, “Nonagon Infinity” – as the title winkingly implies – isn’t no mere collection of songs. It’s designed to be heard as one continuous loop, a ‘sonic mobius strip,’ never really starting and never actually ending, running on forever and ever or until your face melts right off your skull and your heart explodes in a cavalcade of psychedelic glitter, whichever comes first.

Take the ride. You know you want to

Take the ride. You know you want to

The first track, “Robot Stop,” doesn’t so much begin as hurl you into an already-whirling maelstrom of fuzzy, speeding delight (“Nonagon Infinity opens the door” sings Stu Mackenzie, in an instantly memorable melody, the first of many), and then, well, it just keeps going, all the way through, for 42 minutes straight, each of the record’s nine tracks interlinking and dancing through multiple rhythms and time signatures, somehow never losing momentum or spark, until the last track, the frantically awesome “Road Train,” whips right back around and seamlessly hooks straight back into “Robot Stop,” and you start the rollercoaster of madness all over again.

It’s totally insane. But it’s also more than just a gimmick. There’s hooks galore, infectious choruses, nonsensical lyrics, blasting refrains and drum lines that bounce from dark to light and bubble up all over the place to remind you that this isn’t your average, blazing psyche-rock record, or your typical mashup of garage-retro-classic awesomeness, one part Monkeys, one part Blue Cheer, one part MC5, one part jazz fusion, one part Are You F–king Kidding Me.

As you may have guessed, “Nonagon” isn’t for the meek. It’s not for the musically whiny or the tender-eared. You will never see these boys on The Voice. I mean, thank God. I like Pitchfork’s word, “berserker,” to describe this record (in a gushing review). “King Gizzard’s inventive sound, giant hooks, and hard-as-titanium playing make ‘Nonagon Infinity’ not only their best album yet, but maybe the best psych-metal-jazz-prog album ever,” agrees It’s a hell of a giddy ride. You gotta be ready.

Prediction: You will listen once, then twice – and then, almost despite yourself, find yourself putting it on over and over again and saying to yourself “OMG how can I get this record in pill form and take one every day so my life becomes this outrageous freight train made of fractal rainbows and mushroom caps and fire?”

Best of all: As I was writing this, I learned King Gizzard is performing this Monday, May 23rd at The New Parish in Oakland, and Wednesday the 25th at the Independent in in SF.

See you there. BYO temporary insanity.

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Mark Morford

About Mark Morford