Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: At War with the Mystics, Christmas in Mars, Embryonic, Releases of the Week, The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin, Wayne Coyne, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Acid-drenched rockers The Flaming Lips hit a high note in 2009 with their twelfth release, Embryonic. Unlike previous releases Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and At War with the Mystics, Embryonic seeks out a new sound for the band through innovative song structures and brilliant instrumentation. Skirting on the brink of “concept album” with their two previous releases, The Flaming Lips were caught in a sonic rut by the middle half of the decade. Though beautiful, ambient and textured, Yoshimi and Mystics were almost carbon copies of each other in terms of creativity, while The Flaming Lips sound was quickly turning into a caricature of itself.
After a quick break to release Christmas in Mars, Wayne Coyne and company returned to the studio, rejuvenated and ready to rock. The end result is the most detached, dark, and stunningly epic Lips album yet. “Gemini Syringes” spirals and cascades with electronic modulation as radio transmissions echo in the distance. The listener can easily fall into confused bliss as the tracks blend together and evolve into frantic, yet controlled, masterpieces. “The Ego’s Last Stand” grows like a nightmare as Coyne eerily croons in psychedelic prose, “there’s no way out.”
Setting a course for the center of the sun, The Flaming Lips put forth their most beautiful album since The Soft Bulletin. After a few plays, Embryonic begins to sink in as one of the quintessential psychedelic anthem of the decade.
— Chris Parker