With Chunky Shrapnel, Melbourne’s impossible-to-pin-down psych-rockers King Giz’ make their first foray into the world of the concert film. The inevitable accompanying live double album, released digitally on 24th April, is the band at the top of their game, playing the biggest venues of their career during the 2019 world tour.

Obviously chosen because of their viability as live spectacles, the sixteen tracks showcase every aspect of the band’s eight-year, and fifteen-album, existence. From the serpentine guitar work of Wah Wah, the ethereal Let Me Mend The Past and its organ drenched psych-pop, to the garage-rock-on-steroids Road Train, the band seamlessly move between genres and tempos, but seemingly enjoying themselves the most when channelling their thrash metal idols (Planet B, Hell, both from last year’s Infest The Rat’s Nest).

King Gizzard et al are a band whose audience is happy to go absolutely anywhere they take them, whether that be the bass-led, darker-than-dark, spoken-word jam of Murder Of The Universe (‘Vomit bomb, chunky shrapnel, tears through everything around me…’), a punchy classic rock drum solo to showcase both drummers in Parking, or the way that fan favourite track Rattlesnake immediately rises above its component parts to become the 20 minute Grateful Dead/Jethro Tull-esque psychedelic exploration of A Brief History Of Planet Earth (of course somehow recorded in London, Utrecht, Berlin, AND Barcelona…).

“[The production onĀ Chunky Shrapnel] is just lo-fi enough to feel like a very, very good quality bootleg, which is exactly the point.”

The mission statement of a good live LP is to make you feel like you’re at the show, not an easy task, and often a failed one, as the fidelity of a sound desk recording can sometimes be a little ‘too’ good, and losing the rawness of a concert experienced with ears and not microphones. There is no danger of that here, and the production is just lo-fi enough to feel like a very, very good quality bootleg, which is exactly the point.

“We’ll happily put Chunky Shrapnel up there with The MC5’s Kick Out The Jams and The Who’s Live At Leeds as an essential document of a band in their prime.”

Anyone that’s seen King Giz’ live knows well that nothing on record can match the ferocity and relentless raw power of a show. That being said, We’re a sucker for a good live album, and we’ll happily put Chunky Shrapnel up there with The MC5’s Kick Out The Jams and The Who’s Live At Leeds as an essential document of a band in their prime.

9/10

Out Now

Words: Craig Gray @craggengraggen