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Not content with having one of the best albums of the 21st Century in Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, The Flaming Lips have taken on one of the best from the previous century (or ever) in their latest release A Little Help From My Fwends; a track-for track cover of The Beatles' iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. If you heard the comment "as strange as it is wonderful," you would be forgiven for mistaking which original album this was attributed to. The Lips are famed for abstraction, strangeness and trippy tangents, while fostering love and tenderness at their core. The Oklahoma psychedelics' are perhaps the only band that could tackle such a behemoth. Incidentally, the quotation from Billboard magazine referred to Yoshimi...

The title - obviously not verbatim to the original (unlike the tracks contained within it) - derives from the second song from Sgt. Pepper's. The first point is bluntly literal, as The Lips have recruited a spectrum of artists to assist with the project. Miley Cyrus, Moby, MGMT and Foxygen are part of a large cast of performers; perhaps Sgt. Pepper won't be so lonely anymore? The second titular change is the 'w' in friends. This inflection, whether silly or infantile to say out loud, is a playful Flaming inflection as they attempt to cram as much of their own personality into an historic LP.

This is an album of two halves, as two different bands converge on the same lyrics with roughly the same arrangements. There is the same ineluctable debate with covers, either single or album, regarding what you do, how much to change, where and if at all. Do you simply cover it as your band, or throw the original out and perform some revisionist spin to 'really shake things up'. In essence, The Flaming Lips have done what you do with lovingly revered, but well-used antiques: strip them down, restore the fundamental elements, add a few of your own and replace some of the bits that were hanging off the hinges no matter how many times you tried to glue them back on.

If you don't know the original album then tell us the address of the rock you've been living under and we'll personally send you a copy. In light of this, let us stick to The Flaming Lips and steer clear of The Beatles where possible from now on. Also, for a full tracklist, complete with all 'feats' and a preview stream, head here.

The opening track takes almost 40 seconds to reach familiarity, following some heavy, thumping electronics. It seems as though the first three or so tracks are an initiation for those craving carbon copy. If you pass the 'are you still here?' test, it (relatively) settles itself back into a more recognisable, twisted groove. 'Getting Better' to 'Lovely Rita', which include some of the lesser known collaborators, are broadly true to the familiar moods of the originals. 'Sgt. Pepper's...' (the song) ends with a screeching and scene-ripping guitar solo which chews up the friendly atmosphere before relaxing into the final "Billy Shields", which is abruptly spliced back in before it fades away.

In another tongue-in-cheek take on the original lyrics, autotune is applied to 'With a Little Help from My Friends'. "What what you do if I sang out of tune?" we hear in the modulated 'singing' that we have come to know and... just know, from Britney, Cher and dear old Kanye. Wayne cuts in wailing "would you staaand up and walk out on maaeeey."

The joyful nature of this album not only extends to The Flaming Lips and Sgt. Pepper's fans, as proceeds from all sales will be donated to The Bella Foundation. This is a "non-profit organisation created to assist low-income, elderly or terminally ill pet owners with the cost of veterinary care when it cannot be afforded." Sgt. Pepper will be providing little help for our furry, feathered and scaly fwends too thanks to this benevolent gesture.

Cyrus continues her recent a-Miley-oration as both the lead vocalist on 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' and as part of the album finale 'A Day In The Life'. She was of course sampled on Alt-J's 'Hunger Of The Pine' as a "female rebel", not such an active role but showing her good qualities nonetheless. Her contribution here though is truly a revelation. A sultry, earthy and rather soulful appearance on 'Lucy' justifies her eye-catching name amongst a gaggle of other talented bands and singers. Here she is performing with Wayne in Manchester. Despite the obligatory bum-flash, what's not to like?

It is undeniably still Sgt. Pepper's, yet it sounds equally undeniably Lipian. It is an homage that has been scribbled over with synth and smashed with guitar solos, but you can still see the original underneath. It has been treated with care and recklessness. For a cover, it is a mass of contradictions. This is a scribble to go up on the fridge alongside other much-loved items, even if those items are photographs which remind you what real life looks like. Stick a magnet on it. It's done.

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