With all the bleakness surrounding the 2020’s and how it influences today’s art, the Auzzie psych-garage rock legends King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard decide to zig instead of zag. Their latest full-length record Butterfly 3000 is a hopeful dream full of MIDI sequences and synthwave tapestries that fills each song with positivity and wonder. Although this predominantly electronic composition is new for the band, there doesn’t seem to be a dip in its quality. The album flows so well that time can feel unsubstantial through its whole 44 minute runtime. Main riffs and motifs permeate through each song, making for a pleasant ride with not a bump in sight for each section or track transition. It feels like this record was intended to be listened to in sequence and it shines best when doing so, as each track passes its neon-lit baton of wondrous themes from one song to the next.
With so many elements and ideas to weave together, it’s amazing how dreamy and dense Butterfly 3000 is at the same time. Opener “Yours” is bright and bubbly, where a relatively simple main riff branches out through different avenues, transforming into something new with each iteration. This light-on-your-step attitude continues on until fourth track “Blue Morpho”, which receives turbulence in the form of tense counterpoint melodies and an eerily constraining chromatic main riff. Yet with a transitory stride that makes it feel like you’ve been thrown through a wormhole, it returns into bright electro pop again with “Interior People”.
The atmosphere changes once more with “2.02 Killer Year”, where groove and rhythm becomes the main focus and the glowing synth loops are relegated to the edges, swimming like luminescent jellyfish along a swaying tide of smooth dub. Elsewhere, “Black Hot Soup” ventures off on its own into weird spatial territory. Several time signatures are melded together each by an acoustic riff, a swirl of atmospheric synths and a loop of rhythms that phase around in the background, disorienting the listener every time their focus shifts elsewhere. It’s a wonderful trippy effect that signals the climactic peak of craziness in the album, where the titular hot soup represents the infinite scope of the universe.
All of these culminate in “Ya Love” and the title track “Butterfly 3000”. This one-two punch sequence is unabashedly optimistic, full of neon colors and psychedelic bliss. King Gizzard treads on different ground with this latest release, but it is one that balances their exploration as an artist while showing their care for the listener with this cheerful collection.