Australian psychedelic-garage rock group King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard attempt to tackle themes of environmentalism, with a blues-rock twist on their 14th studio album, Fishing for Fishies.
“Boogie” is the overarching theme on Fishing for Fishies, as King Gizzard swaps their microtonal instruments for acoustics, pianos, and mellow vocals.
The title track “Fishing For Fishies” opens with a straight-forward folky hook and a clear agenda of marine life conversation as King Gizzard express their concerns about over-fishing. “I don’t want to be fishing for fish / I just want to let them freely swim.” It may be an important statement, but it’s just too cheesy to take seriously.
“Boogieman Sam” continues with a somewhat unpleasant harmonica line that will eventually become tedious as the album drags on. There is a brief detour with “The Bird Song” — a jazzy piano-pop number, but it doesn’t last long enough before the “boogie” takes over again.
“Plastic Boogie” is where the theme of environmental conservatism really ties in with lyrics about plastic over-consumption. “Death will come from plastic / Death will come from people,” they call-to-action, among a twangy blues riff.
About halfway through the album, the drudging harmonicas do start to feel monotonous. The album doesn’t become engaging at all again until the last two tracks. “Acarine” is pleasant, with its infectious rhythm and disco-style outro.
The most interesting point on the album is, unfortunately, its last song — “Cyboogie,” which is a sci-fi inspired tune sung through vocoders, reminiscent of Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express.
Fishies had the tremendous task of following-up King Gizzard’s string of 2017 releases — all 5 of which were well-received by critics. That being said, this album doesn’t come anywhere close to the skill level that they have clearly established.
Fishies is probably the easiest listen, and maybe the most accessible in the band’s discography, but that’s the thing — there just isn’t anything incredibly interesting on it. In the end, it is a disappointingly dull release from a band known to have a flair for the experimental.