Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2006: Number 29

Roger Dean draws ever closer

Clearly, such is the power over puny record reviewers that Wayne Coyne - by now part-agnostic shamanist, part-political wing of the free-thinkers - that even an understrength Flaming Lips album far outlaps most people's best work in a year. Eleven albums in, their third since making the leap from the cultest of cult interests to proper unit shifters, while you wouldn't call this prog you'd struggle to pin it down to one genre or set of pinpoint influences, Steven Drozd's latest set of wobbly psychedelia if anything taking a turn for the grandiose. Think of it as The White Album shot into space on Funkadelic's UFO having been hijacked by Todd Rundgren. And then go and have a lie down.

While The Soft Bulletin saw the little man inwardly rage against the world and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots surveyed the mess of the age with a naive hopefulness, this album looks anxiously down from well above on what we're making of our age. It's political in a direct sense as well as the usual oblique approach - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, indiepop gone heavily lysergic, asks at its heart "what would you do with all your power?", surely a none more Coyne query. Some tracks attempt to rock out but restrain themselves, possibly because they're better when warping that attitude through the rest of their experimentations in where to take their sound. If the sonics aren't as fulfilling as previously the electronic side is being given a chance to develop its own life, if funk-rock wasn't such a dirty word you'd use it to sum up It Overtakes Me, while Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung could level small buildings given half a chance. Finally the acid space-rockers are taking punk credos, and while sometimes the ideas are smarter than the results the Lips are still far smarter than the average band.

LISTEN ON: It Overtakes Me
WATCH ON: Video for The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song; Wayne demonstrates his new toy live in Stockholm
READ ON: Popmatters asks Coyne about the album imagery, drugs and religion

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