King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard announce their new album ‘Flight b741

Photo credit: Maclay Heriot

Relentlessly inventive, the ever restless King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard release their 26th album, Flight b741 on Friday 9th August 2024.

As the band’s first release on their own newly minted p(doom) records imprint, the album follows their recent festival-stealing headline slot at this year’s Wide Awake in Brockwell Park, London and showcases a remarkable change-of-pace, swapping the big picture ambition for the intimacy of six good friends enjoying each other’s company and collaborating on perhaps the warmest, most bonhomie-laden set the group have yet committed to wax.

And this joyful, loose approach is perfectly encapsulated on the first track to be lifted from the album, ‘Le Risque’, an infectious, rolling boogie which also notably features the vocal debut of drummer Michael Cavanagh.

Accompanied by a suitably aviation themed video, director Guy Tyzack said:

“We were super lucky to have been granted access to this amazing air hanger. The song was chosen because most of the Gizz guys had a singing part and I was excited for the mic to be passed around at a fun, never stopping pace. The day was super packed tight for what we wanted to get and we didn’t want to cut corners. Our crew was tight and the Gizz guys know how to put on a show. We were so tight for time that I didn’t pee all day.”

With a recent run of expansive and conceptual albums behind them, which have spanned from a thrash-metal epic dealing with the current climate crisis to a Moroder-esque pre-digital synth album of proto-Kraftwerk bangers, Flight b741 sees King Gizzard ditch all the high-falutin’ scheming in favour of irresistible country-fried rock’n’roll and the kind of effortless songwriting that comes as second language when you’ve been playing music together 24/7 for almost a decade-and-a-half. The concept this time is ‘no concept’.

“We wanted to make something that was primal, instinctual, more ‘from the gut’,” says Gizzard king Stu Mackenzie“just people in a room, doing what feels right. We wanted to make something fun.”

The group booked in two weeks at their studio and worked Monday to Friday, “like factory workers”, clocking in and then rocking out. “We came in with the roughest skeletons for songs,” says Mackenzie, “and tried to keep the arrangements simple, free and easy. The best takes were always the ones where we were winging it pretty significantly.” The key was not overthinking everything, focusing instead on capturing lightning inside a bottle.

All hopped-up on early Steve Miller Band and the infinite wonderfulness of The Band, King Gizzard laid down the riffs, the grooves, the choogle. Once it was time for the vocals, however, they took a brand new tack – passing the mic. “This is our most collaborative record – the collaboration was occurring in the room, it was free, and everyone was bringing in songs and ideas,” says Mackenzie. “And we wanted to have as many lead vocalists as we could, and to pass the mic, like, ‘This is my part, my idea, I’m gonna sing it and then I’m gonna pass the mic along to you and you can do your thing’. The whole record is built around that. We ended up doing a lot of backing vocals and extra recording, everyone in a room around a couple of microphones, just to give it that feel.”

The communal approach to vocals extended to a more collaborative vibe on lyrics, too. “We had broad themes for every song, and for the bigger picture of the album as a whole,” says Mackenzie, “but once the mic was passed it was all up to the person who was singing. These songs weren’t written in isolation – someone would write their verse, sing it for the demo, and that would inspire the next person’s part. So we were riffing off each other. Lyrically, it’s all pretty introspective – we’re having a lot of fun, but we’re often singing about some pretty heavy shit, and probably hitting on some deeper, more universal themes than usual. It’s not a sci-fi record, it’s about life and stuff.”

“The record is like a really fun weekend with your mates, you know?” nods Mackenzie. “Like, proper fun.”

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Le Risque
Single out now, Flight b741 out Friday 9 August 
via p(doom) records