Review: The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

Embryonic is a double disk, 70 minute long, 18 track long album. Sounds self indulgent? It is.

Now, that may be a radical opening statement but it is true, what I didn’t mention however, was if they deserve after an album full of mostly cheery pop songs (Or pop songs that are fairly distressing “Mr Ambulance Driver”) it would appear the flaming lips have decided that it’s about time they fucked around with people’s minds again and not just fired confetti into the audience. Opener “Convinced Of The Hex” is the exact moment you’re going to realise whether you love this album or not as Wayne sings “She submits and she donates/she gets out of her head/and she talks to the ceiling/you can hear what she said” you’re going to find out if this is the album for you. PONCY DISCLAIMER: Newish fans and fans of at war with the mystics you might be better staying away from this. It’s fucking weird.

Whereas opener “Convinced of the Hex” sounds relatively tight follow up “The Sparrow Looks up at the Machine” appears to be a great big jam, dirty looping bass line, squealing one note guitar mesmerizing drums and distant vocals. And so it goes on, the sweet beauty of “Evil” lasts with you long after the song is over and serves as a reminder of what the flaming lips can do if they want a love song. Well, it would do if not for “Aquarius Sabotage” which comes in and blows away your lofty daydream state, the clang of guitars, furious bass work and what sounds like a harp vs. guitar battle raging in the forefront, And then, half way through, It all gets along together, synths marry echo and we all live happily ever after. “See The Leaves” gets all rocky in your face, being the lead single it’s not quite as far out as some of the other songs on the album but it’s a fantastic marker in the sand.

In the paragraph above I described a harp VS guitar battle. This album is a complete paradox. Its genius and at the same time it’s stupid. Brilliant and pathetic, amazingly talented and over assured. There isn’t a single song on this album that you could confidently hand to somebody and say “This is fucking amazing, listen”. It isn’t an easy listen and it most likely won’t chart. When they look back at the career of the flaming lips it may well be the album they describe as their most important or they might well call it a career low. Personally, for me, and I’m well aware many will disagree with me (And I hope many will agree with me) it’s masterful, majestic and wonderful. In its own fucked up little way. Giving this album a score isn’t necessary; take from the review what you will. Go and listen, I’m sort of maybe sure that you might possibly enjoy it?

Alec