King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, “Butterfly 3000”

The shapeshifting group’s second album of 2021 is straight up psychedelic from start to finish.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, “Butterfly 3000”

The shapeshifting group’s second album of 2021 is straight up psychedelic from start to finish.

Words: Douglas Menagh

June 14, 2021

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Butterfly 3000

By this point, it’s pretty much common knowledge that King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are known to put out multiple records over the course of a year (the band famously released five records back in 2017). On top of that, they’re also one of the most imaginative bands today, making it truly difficult to predict what direction they’ll take next—in 2019 they notably followed up Fishing for Fishies, an incredibly chill album, with Infest the Rats’ Nest, their heaviest album to date. 2021 is already proving to be a productive and inventive year for King Gizzard. Back in February, the Melbourne-based group released L.W., a microtonal companion to 2020’s K.G. Together, these genre-expansive albums feature heavy moments of gritty, brutal sounds flecked with colorful bright spots. 

Now, King Gizzard is back with Butterfly 3000, their second album of the year, and one that’s both melodic and psychedelic. What makes Butterfly 3000 unique for King Gizz is that, while elements of psych-rock are scattered throughout the band’s discography, this album is straight up psychedelic from start to finish with modular synths and arpeggio loops proving another departure for the band. The album opens with “Yours,” a danceable, bouncy synth song with funky basslines and glam-pop vocals. There’s a warm and sunny quality to this track, inspiring wonder of discovering musical parts unknown.

While Butterfly 3000 is a psychedelic rock record that fully embraces tropes of the genre, it’s also in some ways experimental. King Gizzard take risks, exploring the limits of psych-rock, putting their own unique spin on the genre while combining others. “Blue Morpho” is a tried-and-true psychedelic track, but it also feels avant-garde in the way it incorporates electronic rock. “Interior People” starts off as a funky, upbeat dance number from another period in time. Then, like the insect of the album’s title, the song undergoes a metamorphosis to become slightly gritty and embrace melodic qualities not typically heard in Western music. 

Butterfly 3000 is an inviting, welcoming, and deeply accessible album. Through dream-pop textures and psychedelic sounds, it makes the case that this might be the most logical starting point for those who might have gone the past decade without listening to King Gizz. “Ya Love” is an especially engaging track, with surf-rock keys and vocals that are also classical and symphonic. If the gift of music is the gift of bringing different people together, Butterfly 3000 is qualified to do that by creating an engaging musical experience that can appeal to a wide range of different musical tastes. 

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have the gift of creating staying power with each record. Years after releasing an album, Gizzheads will still ponder and obsess over the mysteries, meaning, and connections of the band’s music. Butterfly 3000 is a most welcome addition to this discography, with all the makings of a record with relevance for years to come.