Album Review: The Flaming Lips - 'And Heady Fwends'

1 August 2012 | 10:07 am | Staff Writer
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You’ve got to hand it to The Flaming Lips, they have had the kind of career that every artist dreams of achieving. Not only has it been a long one, but with enough freedom to do pretty much whatever they choose.

This year, the band chose to do a special release for Record Store Day on which they would team up with a bunch of other, sometimes fairly random artists and produce some interesting collaborative works. The limited edition vinyl release sold out instantly making it one of the top three best sellers on the day, so now for those who missed out, The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends is available to all.

Considering who we are talking about, this next fact should come as no surprise, but to benefit charity, The Flaming Lips included some of the Heady Fwend’s blood inside the actual pressing of the vinyl for ten special copies of the record, all of which sold for about $2.500 each.

Whilst these tracks are all collaborative, the F’Lips influence overrules all, with stories of front man Wayne Coyne’s inability to negotiate with the guest artists emerging soon after the recording was released. All that this really means is if you are a Flaming Lips fan, you will enjoy this record, while finding extra pleasure in the wacky team ups along the way.

It could be anyone’s guess as to whom the band would chose to work with and the guest list is so diverse that everyone in the world who guessed would probably be right. From Ke$ha to Nick Cave, Bon Iver to Erykah Badu, the range of artists is phenomenal. But, all of them have succumb to the F’Lips ways, leaving the majority of their individuality at the door.

The record is a huge slab of tripped out, psychedelic haze, which features all sorts of cuts up samples, sparkling guitars and reverberated vocal banter. The Bon Iver number Ashes In The Air is one of the biggest disappointments due to its stretched out, directionless drawls. While, surprisingly, Ke$ha’s attitude filled opener 2012 (You Must Be Upgraded) is a highlight. Interestingly enough, another standout is the groove heavy, percussion based track Do It!, (which features Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band) mainly as it gives a break from the delay drenched haze of the rest of the album.

The final track, Tasered And Maced, features Ghostland Observatory’s Aaron Behrens telling the story of a show at which he was maced by a police officer, cut up and remixed by the Lips.

Essentially, if no one told you that there was a bunch of guest artists on this record, you would just think it was another Flaming Lips release, as they have always been weird enough to make all of this seem normal.