x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The Flaming Lips …and Heady Fwends

Oklahoma's The Flaming Lips have conducted a sort of musical lab test, spiriting unlikely collaborators into the studio and thrusting new genres at them.

The Flaming Lips …and Heady Fwends
Bella Union
***
Redoubtable rock subversives, Oklahoma's The Flaming Lips have conducted a sort of musical lab test over the last year, spiriting unlikely collaborators into the studio and thrusting new genres at them. Here they present the wildly varying results.

Actually, Heady Fwends is slightly misleading as at least one of the contributors, Erykah Badu, has since fallen out with the band over an inappropriate video. Thankfully, she didn't pull the song, a lengthy, eerie version of the folk-soul standard The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face that adds welcome substance here.

Elsewhere, it's a splendidly haphazard rush of styles. Highlights include Bon Iver's atmospheric harmonies married to military beats and eccentric lyrics ("We thought we could outrun them. But they have robot dogs") on Ashes in the Air, the pop star Ke$ha duelling with the rap legend Biz Markie on the vaguely sinister, very silly 2012, and a psychedelic wig-out with My Morning Jacket's Jim Jones called That Ain't My Trip.

And then there's Do It, which is funky and thoroughly listenable despite featuring Yoko Ono. Only The Flaming Lips can do this.