Flaming Lips Back to Bizarre With Embryonic

'Sprawling' double album should please longtime fans
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2009 1:14 PM CDT
Wayne Coyne of 'The Flaming Lips' performs at the VH1 Rock Honors “The Who” on Saturday July 12, 2008 in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Flaming Lips are no stranger to reinvention, having transformed “from garage-punk misfits into a splendorous, kaleidoscopic rock outfit,” then later “into a sophisticated, sincere symphonic-pop troupe bestowed with increasing commercial acclaim.” The release of Embryonic marks another sea change—and it’s the band's boldest effort since 1997's Zaireeka, writes Stuart Berman for Pitchfork. “There's a raw directness to Embryonic that's been largely absent from Lips records since the mid-'90s.”

The double album, like the band’s film Christmas on Mars, marks a return to the Lips' "bizarro roots.” It “ruminates on themes of madness, isolation, and hallucinogenic horror, translating them into an unrelentingly paranoid, static-soaked acid-rock epic,” Berman continues. “Even in its slighter moments, Embryonic exhibits a renewed sense of fearless freakery for a band who so recently threatened to lapse into stagy routine.”