Thursday, September 17, 2009

A big hand for the Flaming Lips

I've spent the last couple of days trapped in some sort of 1970s prog rock nightmare, as I absorb the new "opus" from Muse and a double album of freaky wig-out nonsense by The Flaming Lips. I now refuse to listen to any song that doesn't last more than seven minutes and feature a zither.

The Muse record the campest thing you will ever hear, even if you are Kylie Minogue drinking a white wine spritzer at a Doris Day retrospective in Graceland.

Embryonic, meanwhile, is the result of (dear God, no) a six-month-long jam session in the Flaming Lips' studio. "We got kind of caught up in and kind of inspired and energized by these weird jams that we were doing," Wayne Coyne told Rolling Stone earlier this year. "A lot of them turned out better and stranger and more interesting than some of the songs that we had written."

The thing is: He's absolutely right. This is the best Flaming Lips album since The Soft Bulletin. It's chock full of spooky electric buzzing, scaling guitar loops, hypnotic bass lines and a dolorous, other-worldly tone. Special guests include MGMT (aka the Flaming Lips Lite) and Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who provides yelps and squeals on a couple of tracks. Yes, really.

The ideal way to listen to the album is on a pair of chunky headphones in a darkened bedsit while burning six joss sticks, two candles and a "funny" cigarette. You may also want to wear a paisley neckscarf and tie beads in your hair.

Or, like I did, you can experience it while putting together a new table you've just bought from John Lewis. Either option is fine.

Here are the band previewing Convinced Of The Hex on US TV last night. It's pretty representative of the rest of the album, so if you're mesmerised by its dark, loping groove, you could do worse than checking out the album when its released on 12th October.

Flaming Lips - Convinced Of The Hex [live on the Colbert Report]

Apparently, you can stream the whole Flaming Lips album on the Colbert Report website until 21st September, but I can't find the darn thing anywhere.

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