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The Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends

Album Review

Oklahoma space rockers invite their friends to engage in psych-rock sorcery.

A limited release on Record Store Day in the US and an even more limited “blood vinyl” release – which contained small amounts of celebrity DNA sandwiched into the disc – this collaborative, double-length psychedelic blowout is now set to be issued in more traditional circular formats. Possibly.

At the time of going to press, no one in the UK including their record label knew for certain. 

This is no surprise. Over the past year the Lips have streamed a 24-hour song online, released a song on YouTube that consists of 12 separate pieces that have to be played simultaneously, and issued an EP on a USB stick housed inside a seven-pound skull made of gum. The Flaming Lips don’t do normal. 

That said, Heady Fwends – which features collaborations with an unexpected selection of mainstream (Chris Martin, Bon Iver, Nick Cave), obscure (Lightning Bolt, Prefuse 73) and like-minded (Yoko Ono, Tame Impala) playmates – sounds pretty much as you would expect. 

Much like their terrific live shows, Heady Fwends is hard for the standard human brain to cope with – the aural equivalent of eating fish and chips and ice cream all at once. As with their last album proper, 2009’s Embryonic, the titles are brilliant (Supermoon Made Me Want To Pee) and the sonic landscapes dense and trippy. But amid the crazy lurk some of their most accessible and melodic works since Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

Seek it out and give in. Just don’t expect to enjoy all of it.

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