“Embryonic” by The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips have been doing their own thing since the early 80s, sticking with a lo-fi psychedelic garage rock sound until the late 90s. The band became much more publicly aware with their trio of electronically injected space psychedelia albums The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and At War with the Mystics. They were accessible and contained an infectious energy. The sound achieved on these albums have become synonymous with the band, and they seemed comfortable floating there.

Embryonic however, contains some of their least accessible material in years. This isn’t an album that contains radio friendly psych-pop rock (candy not intended) tunes like “Do You Realize?” and “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song“. Embryonic harkens back to their darker, stranger days. Many times a song will burst into a heavy distorted dementia, with strange electronic sounds exploding into existence from every direction while wild screams echo off of the walls. Some tracks like “Evil“, “If” and “The Impulse” give your ears a restful moment as the band restrains from any intense freakouts. But just as you’re settling in the in-the-red mastering and garage inspired spaciness kicks back in.

There are a lot of sounds tucked away in the developing layers of Embryonic. You’ll find strained harps, animal noises (provided by Karen O of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and an assortment of bleeps and bloops that come from god knows what. Wayne Conye’s voice floats around the madness like an angel delivering a message, though at other times he chants like a man who can’t find his mind. The lyrics contain their signature deep, thoughtful reflection. The album will certainly bring a challenge to those fans who are only familiar with their less experimental side. But fans who have been with them for every Zaireeka and Christmas on Mars will want to throw a pair of good headphones on and be comforted by the warmth of the electrostatic womb.

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Published in: on October 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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