#77

August 5, 2010

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
psych-rock, experimental-rock
2009

The Flaming Lips - EmbryonicThis one might be the biggest surprise of the decade. After playing it disappointingly safe with the sub-par, Yoshimi-retread of 2005’s At War With the Mystics, a lot of people had written The Flaming Lips off, placing them firmly in the “past their prime” basket. A few years passed with little in the way of band activity, before finally Embryonic came out of nowhere in 2009 to be the group’s most daring album in over a decade. Beyond being merely a comeback, I’m seriously tempted to call this the best thing The Lips have ever released (you can toss a coin on that one, because it’s down to this and Clouds Taste Metallic). The insular sound, the cosmic production, the jarringly vibrant instrumentation, the labyrinthine sequencing and the double-album format – all of these things constituted pretty bold steps at a time when everyone was expecting Wayne Coyne and Co. to once again maintain the status quo and make another album that fell into the (now thoroughly tapped) “life affirming” niche of their previous 2 or 3 releases. Instead they put everything on the line by creating perhaps the darkest album of their career, and the payoff has been tremendous. You can colour me very surprised – I just didn’t think they were still capable of making something this original and flat-out great.

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