Shot Down In Flames or Rising From The Ashes?

The most recent Record Store Day saw The Flaming Lips release The Flaming Lips and the Heady Fwends to well, let’s say…mixed reviews.

The Flaming Lips

The weird and wacky but nonetheless indulgent The Flaming Lips’ playfully astronomical hits, will send you off the grid as you become engrossed in their theatrics.

If you happened to peruse the Drum Media you might have come across this review. Ross Celland was diplomatic, at first glance you don’t really notice how the negative edge, it’s counteracted by lines like:

“The Flaming Lips were exactly the right people to put together something special for the most recent Record Store Day.”

But as the review goes on you notice to constant references to how “expected” everything was, how Fwends is exactly what you thought it might be and no more.

Is that really all there is to the album though? Admittedly I haven’t heard every track but I like the ones I have taken time out to listen to. So did Stuart Berman from Pitchfork if his rating of 8.2/10 is anything to go by. In fact, his review suggests that Fwends is a whole new world for The Flaming Lips:

“I love the Flaming Lips,” Martin blurts out in the recording’s dying seconds– and, really, that’s the only thing on this surprisingly substantial album that feels obvious.”

If you want to come to your own conclusion, you can listen to their collaboration with Bon Iver, Ashes To Ashes on YouTube; be aware that you will get a content warning for bad language and disturbing imagery, take note if you are in any way squeamish. On that note, if you are a bit squeamish, I wouldn’t recommend trying to get your hands on one of the limited edition vinyls, all of which contain a mix of blood donated by contributing artists…