thu 30/05/2024

CD: The Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends

CD: The Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends

Wayne Coyne's wigged-out band links up with some A-list kindred spirits

Never content to toe the line, The Flaming Lips remain as sonically cheeky as ever

If there was ever an album that could be reviewed on the basis of its track titles it is this one. "Helping the Retarded to Know God", "I'm Working at NASA on Acid" and "That Ain't My Trip" sound like they have been automatically generated via some Flaming Lips Title-Generating Machine.

Luckily the music, recorded with chums including Nick Cave, Yoko Ono, Ke$ha, Bon Iver and Erykah Badu and first released in limited edition outside the UK on this April's Record Store Day, does not feel quite so formulaic.

It is definitely thrilling to hear Nick Cave in playful comedy sex god mode barking out the title of his track, "You, Man? Human??" at full throttle and teasing the listener – “You can touch me if you want to... it’s ob-lig-a-tory”. Yoko Ono is rather more irritating when she speaks and squeaks the repetitive lyrics on her part-tribal, part-industrial contribution "Do It". The tunes elsewhere rock and crash about and veer from the just plain earache-inducing noisy to the sweetly melodic. Sometimes, as on "Is David Bowie Dying?", within the same track. Lips frontman Wayne Coyne sure likes to lob everything into the mix, from samples and found sounds to fuzzy psychedelic guitar like a post-punk Sun Ra.

There is nothing here that is as commercially viable as "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Part 1" or "Do You Realise??" but that was presumably never the intention. This project was recorded intermittently between live dates and does feel slightly scattershot at times, but that just adds to the overall hallucinogenic feel. At its best, such as on "Children of the Moon", which has an eerie 1970s-era Jaggeresque charm, or the warped Beefheartian take on “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” with Erykah Badu, this is certainly an album that will linger in the memory. Though you might want to forget about Yoko Ono's chalk-on-blackboard contribution.


Watch the video for "Supermoon Made Me Want to Pee"

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