Psychedelic Australian seven-piece King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's seventh album, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, feels like it could pass for the soundtrack of an animated film, à la Harry Nilsson's The Point or the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. It also channels some Magical Mystery Tour with the use of backmasking and looping (take a peek at the album art to see the influence there, too) and early Donovan, particularly in its choice of instruments (acoustic guitar, plenty of flutes, clarinets and punchy drums).
This record is bucolic and bright, cheery, idyllic and fun without being too cheesy — which is important, given there are flutes featured on nearly every track on this record. The album's cinematic edge is confirmed by the end song, the instrumental "Paper Mâché," which acts like a reprise of title track "Paper Mâché Dream Balloon."
The sneaking "Trap Door" is reminiscent of Devendra Banhart's work on Mala, both vocally and melodically, and "The Bitter Boogie" brings to mind the groove of Booker T's "Green Onions." But what's most evident on Paper Mâché Dream Balloon is a tangible sense of fun. Each smile-inducing track has a dreamy and uplifting quality to it, and it's easy to imagine that King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a great time crafting these bouncy tunes — a charming, unabashed sense of happiness oozes from each song.
Fans of King Gizzard's earlier material may have trouble stomaching the bubbly nature of Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, but just as fellow Aussie psych band Tame Impala did with Currents, sometimes you simply need to take a chance and put out something unexpected — that the flutes on nearly every track end up working is just icing on this sweet cake. (ATO)