Artist: The Flaming Lips Release: 'Embryonic' When: Out Now On: Warner Bros More Info: The Flaming Lips are like Nelson Mandela, they could get away with anything and people will still love them. Indeed, few bands will ever see the resounding level of integrity, fame and high critical regard of Oklahoma-based experimental 4 piece Flaming Lips. Impressively, the band still managed to retain the experimentalism and nonconformity that they have become so renowned for. Of course, their sound is impossible to define (not least because it changes from album to album) yet it (usually) lies near psychedelic experimental rock. The band is particularly well known for their lush arrangements, mad lyrics and elaborate live shows- but then again, there must be very few music fans unfamiliar with The Flaming Lips. After 11 studio albums, numerous Grammy Awards and countless sellout tours, the Flaming Lips return with a double album ‘Embryonic’. In typical Lips fashion, the new release marks a resounding deviation from the commercially successful and (comparatively) accessible trio: The Soft Bulletin (1998), Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) and At War With the Mystics (2006). According to lead singer and beloved 'king of indiepop' Wayne Coyne, the new release is “different to anything they've previously released” - but then again ironically so is every one of their albums. According to Coyne, the intention of the album was for the band to “lose themselves”, but after 18 songs it wasn’t just them that were lost. It is these "free-form jams" that ultimately tarnish the album; what was intended to become an exciting organic creative process, ultimately ended up becoming a lengthy, meandering mess.
The Flaming Lips "I Can Be A Frog"

The Flaming Lips | MySpace Video
This said, behind the façade of psychedelic freakouts and excessive self-indulgent noodling, there are some fantastic pop songs. The album is undeniably bursting with chaotic, haunting beauty. Like with all great albums, the songs require patience and thought; possibly too much for the casual fan. In standout songs like ‘Watching The Planets’ and ‘The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine’ it is possible to disregard the overindulgence and abrasive backing and trace the allure of the Soft Bulletin. Buried deep in the album is Coyne’s dream-like wistful voice and spacey euphoric instrumentation that has helped propel the Lips to the peak of indie rock that they now reside. If that wasn't enough, the album also features 'collaborations' from Karen O and MGMT (although you'll struggle to find them.) For most other bands, Embryonic would be their pinnacle album, but then again, the Flaming Lips are far from an ordinary band. Their new release won’t win them the commercial success they found in their previous three albums, but the Flaming Lips have never been a band to follow convention. 7/10 Track To Download: 'Watching The Planets' Track To Skip: 'I Can Be A Frog' For Fans Of : Mercury Rev, Modest Mouse, Atlas Sound What say you on this? Sound off in our Forum!