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New Flaming Lips album:

the best experiment yet

By Kyle Grim
On September 5, 2012

After three years of bizarre, 24-hour song experiments and world record attempts, the Flaming Lips return with a new full-length album, but this one has a twist. "The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends" is another experiment: a collaborative album with both Grammy-winning artists and relative unknowns. Sonically, the album is very similar to their previous album, "Embryonic." Many of these songs are not "radiofriendly,"
with "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" clocking in at over 10 minutes long. In addition, many of these songs are not immediately accessible. Many layers of guitar, synthesizers and bass cause much of the music to sound chaotic and muddy. "2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)," which features Ke$ha, Biz Markie and Hour of the Time Majesty 12, is probably the most accessible song on the record. The song is driven by a strong beat, with Ke$ha engaging in a call and response with a robotic voice. Ironically, the featured artists often shine more than the Flaming Lips themselves. Ke$ha is clearly the star of the previously mentioned song, and Bon Iver's
voice shines through on "Ashes in the Air." As with most Flaming Lips albums, most of the lyrics and song titles are nonsensical, but that is precisely what gives them their charm. "Do It!," which features Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, consists of those two words being sung over and over while the music drones on in the background. Aaron Behrens provides spoken word on "Tasered and Maced," which describes an experience of running away from the cops and, well, how he got tasered and maced. Flaming Lips fans will love
this album. It is a natural extension of their experiments on
"Embryonic," although a little more accessible, but not by much. And accessible is the key word here: those who have not listened to the Flaming Lips before or other similar neo-psychedelic bands will be left scratching their heads, wondering what they just listened to. The huge layers of sound, filled with screeching guitars, loud synthesizers, muddy drums and sound effects of all sorts can be overwhelming at first. But upon closer inspection, most listeners will find a deep, rewarding sonic experiment from the greatest ex-  


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