Monday, December 03, 2007

album of the day

The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips.

A bit of a parallel with my earlier Grateful Dead review here: band renowned for herculean drug intake and wildly ambitious but essentially unlistenable sonic experimentation (in this case their previous 4-disc album Zaireeka, which was designed to be listened to on four different stereo systems simultaneously. Well, of course) kick back, sober up a bit, get it together and release an album full of short punchy songs and wide-eyed charm.

Not that they've left the weirdness completely behind - the lyrical concerns are still pretty non-standard right from the opening Race For The Prize, and it's mixed somewhat weirdly - the drums are oddly splashy, echoey and trebly, as if they'd been recorded in someone's garage (and maybe they were?). But mainly the focus is on Wayne Coyne's reedy Neil Young-ish vocals and some great songs: Race For The Prize, A Spoonful Weighs A Ton, Waitin' For A Superman and the joyous closing track Buggin' being the pick of the bunch.

The follow-up albums Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and At War With The Mystics are the ones that really put them on the map commercially, and they're great, but this is The One.

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