After a pair of good-to-embarrassing albums and one extremely embarrassing home movie, the Flaming Lips are probably feeling some pressure to make a statement. Embryonic, a weird, wonderful two-disc epic, is certainly that. While not exactly a return to form for the band — it shares little with the widescreen pop of The Soft Bulletin — it is a much-needed swerve left. Over 18 tracks, the Oklahoma City lifers offer a surreal journey into the psychedelic mystic, rotating between cathartic and fuzzy (“Convinced of the Hex,” the totally awesome “Aquarius Sabotage”) and ethereal, airy sounds (“Sagittarius Silver Announcement”). Bands such as Dungen and Black Moth Super Rainbow have impressively tested these waters in recent years, and fans of the Lips’ more tuneful leanings may be at a loss with these chorus-free tracks, but longtime Lips listeners (and Syd Barrett dudes) should be more than satisfied to hear Wayne Coyne & Co. exploring the outer limits.
(Embryonic is due 10/13 from Warner/Reprise)
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