Insane electrified Alice Coltrane-style freakout with sunbursts of harp and Chick Corea keyboard disfigurement. The whole thing has the feel of a track from On The Corner which collapses after three minutes due to several key players corpsing. Amazingly it appears the whole album is going to sound like this. Compression snatched out of the hands of the abusers and turned into a psychedelic tool. Unfortunately not about the film that features Malcolm McDowell on the roof of his public school shooting his peers but one of those slightly mawkish and uncomfortable ballads about mortality that Coyne does.
Just his falsetto and organ accompaniment, you have to admire its nakedness. Whatever they are. His words add a peculiar contrast to the otherwise beguiling atmosphere. Another jam-based track with immense drums, a cello and what sounds like someone rubbing the rim of a wine glass.
As the title suggests, this is a melancholy lament suffused with helplessness. Lazy yet affecting jazz punk guitars round things off. It ends with a sound like a rasping, human breath of a man desperate for just a few minutes more life to try and make sense of it all.
It ends at five minutes in strings for a watery lament. A lot of these songs are little more than acid cleansed sketches but are no less for that. The internet is rife with talk of this being a concept album about the signs of the Zodiac and the positions of the of the planets, and this one of six specific references to astrology that might help to bear this out.
This is one of the shortest tracks here: just two minutes of drily produced noise, displaced rhythm, and the final prickly-heat soothing flourish of harp. Ah, The Vocoder! Just as everyone else in the whole world is getting busy with autotune, The Flaming Lips decide to discover the vocoder.
This is why they are ace, you see. With an inverse Cher on vox. Another Brainticket brain scrambler. Noggin-scorching washes or harp and an uptempo Neu! Each bright synthetic stab of this track sounds like God carelessly tugging at your heart strings. Our mathematician attempts to destroy our ego and allow us to be reborn. Are Flaming Lips trying to exorcise their attempts at becoming a relatively mainstream band over the past ten years?
It certainly feels like a primordial oomska from which some brave new form might be born. The closer is one of the stand-out tracks here with Karen O rejoining the ranks for backing vocals.
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To find out more, click here. Embryonic is essentially a rhythmic record, virtually every song propelled by syncopated drums and a distorted, circular bass line while digitised bleeps and whistles bubble in the background.
Coyne still can't really sing, his wispy vocal whine drifting over the proceedings like fluffy cloud-cover, floating around in search of the ghost of a melody that usually isn't there. Thankfully, over 18 songs and 70 minutes some startlingly lovely moments do rise to the surface: the passage of organ music — like a post-millennial Bach fugue — in the middle of the excellent See the Leaves; the touching Evil and its counterpoint If, both nodding towards the symphonic beauty of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots ; and the way the ominous, expectant Powerless which sounds a bit like Led Zeppelin's No Quarter slides into an insistent, nagging guitar solo, like a finger worrying away at a throbbing tooth.
Their much-vaunted pop sensibility and beguiling disingenuousness are not entirely absent, either. Silver Trembling Hands is a sparkling jewel, and where else would you find a giggling Karen O pretending to be a bear, bat, cat, wolf, helicopter, locust and frog on a song called — oh yes — I Can Be a Frog?
Embryonic is certainly not without charm, but its title gives the game away. Retrieved July 25, Rolling Stone. Retrieved Archived from the original on Colbert Nation. Retrieved January 8, Retrieved May 12, The A. The Daily Telegraph. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 12, The Guardian. MSN Music. Archived from the original on June 17, Mojo : November The Flaming Lips. Retrieved 16 September Once Beyond Hopelessness.