Since the Australian band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard formed in 2010, they have released two EPs and two albums every year since 2012, making “Paper Mâché Dream Balloon” the seventh album and the second one this year.
Usually described as psychedelic grunge, this album breaks away from the group’s traditional sound, making it more reminiscent of ’60s psych pop than grunge. It sounds more held together and planned out than some of its previous work with grunge, which is typically more chaotic.
Listening to the album’s first single and title track, “Paper Mâché Dream Ballon,” is enough to understand the overall happy vibe of the record, filled with harmonica and flute harmonies.
This music might make you want to dance around in a hippie commune, but if you listen closely you’ll find that the lyrics have a darker undertone, which explains titles such as “Cold Cadaver,” “Bloodstain” and “Dirt.” The album begins with the jazzy track “Sense,” which correlates with the band’s previous record “Quarter!,” nominated for Best Jazz Album of 2015 by ARIA.
The fifth track of the album titled “Trapdoor” feels out of place. It consists of repetitive lyrics and an overall darker tone that strongly contradicts the happier vibe of the album. Stu Mackenzie is quoted saying he “wanted to make an album with a collection of short unrelated songs,” yet tracks nine and 10, named “Time = Fate,” and “Time = $$$” seem to go with one another, both sounding like they came out of the Beatles’ album “Magical Mystery Tour.” The final song, “Paper Mache,” perfectly concludes the album by bringing all the sounds heard throughout the piece and putting them into one instrumental track.
According to a “Rolling Stone” review of the album, “Paper Mâché Dream Balloon” is considered the best album yet. Overall, this album is recommendable if you’re into psychedelic, happy hippie sounds.