The Flaming Lips and Heady FwendsAlbum |
Treading a fuzzy line between excellence and noisy novelty.
Given their propensity for stunts and gimmickry (breaking the Guinness World record for most shows played in 24 hours! Albums encased in crystal skulls! Parades! Confetti canons!), it's a little to easy to forget what an interesting rock band The Flaming Lips actually are. On Heady Fwends, the Lips enlist a who's who of indie rock and pop stars to get weird with them and the results, while interesting, are mostly mixed. Weirdness for weirdness sake does not a good song make, which is why much of Fwends just sounds loud and messy and not entirely memorable. The best moments here are generally also the most gentle: "Ashes in the Air" (featuring Bon Iver) and "Helping the Retarded to Know God" (featuring Edward Sharpe) could be distant cousins to The Soft Bulletin, while the Lips' cover of "The First Time Ever I saw your Face" with Erykah Badu reaches for the kind of fuzzy, blissed out sonicsphere that one wishes the rest of the album could have aspired to. Fwends is certainly a fun listen, but it still plays more like novelty than art.
|The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face|