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The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends
Psychedelic jape-meisters hook up with famous pals, fail to generate sparks.
Ed Power, 31 Jul 2012
The Flaming Lips’ ‘duets’ project has already generated controversy with Erykah Badu voicing her displeasure over the video for ‘Do It’, which she insists is more explicit than the cut she had signed off on (she cavorts naked, covered in glitter and blood). This has prompted the standard internet bru-ha-ha but also suggested that The Flaming Lips had returned to their synapse-frying best (plans are afoot to remake the vid, with goth pin-up Amanada Palmer on kecks-out duty). In fact however ...& Heady Fwends is surprisingly understated, with Wayne Coyne and company dialing down significantly on their trademark wackiness (there is little of the glorious bonkerdom of 2010’s back-to-form Embryonic). Badu aside, the most high-profile collaborator is esoteric folkie Bon Iver, but you’d hardly guess it was him crooning his way through the anonymous lo-fi thunk of ‘Ashes In The Air’. More engaging is the freak-folk tinged ‘Helping The Retarded To Know God’, on which cult optimists Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes chip in feelgood hysterics. The most balls-out moment is ‘Supermoon Made Me Want To Pee’, with rhymes from avant-rapper Prefuse 79. It’s agreeably eclectic – but we’re still a long way from the soulful outside the box-isms of Yoshimi Versus The Pink Robots.