Song of the Day: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – The Fourth Colour

photo by Niffer Calderwood (view set)

By Stephanie Garr

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “The Fourth Colour” by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard from the 2017 album Polygondwanaland, which is available now as a free download (and available as a physical product via ATO Records).

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – The Fourth Colour (MP3)

Australian experimentalists King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard was arguably 2017’s most prolific band, releasing five full albums over the course of the year. There was the microtonal mind-melt Flying Microtonal Banana; the cyborg-narrated sci-fi trip Murder of the Universe; the yacht-rock/Brit-folk/jazz-fusion collab with Mild High Club, Sketches of Brunswick East; the psych-prog beast let loose for free use, Polygondwanaland; and the groovy finale, Gumboot Soup, released just under the wire on December 31.

Even more impressive is the vast array of killer songs tucked among this quintet of curiosities. One of our favorites is Polygondwanaland’s final track, “The Fourth Colour,” a meandering yet propulsive groove built on dizzying, circular riffs, feverish drum fills, and a trippy vocal technique called hocketing, in which multiple vocalists sing alternating syllables.

“The Fourth Colour” itself refers to the phenomenon of tetrachromacy. The rare tetrachromat possesses four (instead of three) types of cone cells in the eye, meaning they have the ability to see millions of more colors than the average human. It’s perhaps the essence of psychedelia as we visually interpret it. For the band, it’s a gateway to divinity: “Third eye is free/I am not body/Tetrachromacy,” they chant, before their final words reveal all: “Now I am a god.” At this revelation, the instruments dissolve into a deep-space drone before resurfacing for one final bout of psych-rock delirium.

In case you missed King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard at the Neptune Theatre last October, you’ll want to keep checking their Bandcamp for future show announcements. As of now, they only have European dates set for 2018. Below, watch a video from their most recent KEXP in-studio session.

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