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Various Artists (Tributes) - The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon CD (album) cover


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3 stars This is not a note-for-note remake (and yet, all the spoken words are there, the heartbeat, the sound effects), but rather it's a re-imagining of Pink Floyd's great album as some kind of Krautrock psychedelia, and it's pretty good. Recorded after the Flaming Lips made their masterpiece "Embryonic," this album is almost a companion piece to that one. For what this is, a tribute cover album by the Lips and a couple other bands, it's pretty enjoyable. I think I'm fondest of "Us and Them." It reminds me a bit of Can at times. Still, I honestly have only listened to it a few times here and there. Like with most tribute albums.
Report this review (#928088)
Posted Sunday, March 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This tribute got a lot of flack for not being exactly like the original. If it had been just like the original, it wouldn't even be worth mentioning. As it stands, it's fantastic! In their usual fashion, the Flaming Lips have pushed their sounds and their production to the limit, emphasizing dissonance over beauty (or perhaps as beauty). You hear pops and squeals all over the place, but it's consistently poppy and squealy, and oddly charming as a result. It's modern and feels really fresh.

If you do give it a listen, listen to it LOUD. It's got some really jarring moments that'll just feel dull if they're soft.

"Breathe" and "On the Run" open up the album with hard-rock interpretations of two pieces that were originally close to smooth jazz and electronica, respectively. They set a really driving mood and immediately tell the listener, "Remember, you didn't buy this album because you wanted to hear Floyd."

"Time" opens up with a Spoon-like introduction (sniffs and coughs as opposed to a ticking clock), and then BWWWAAAAAAMMMMMMMM a screaming, three-octave, grinding synth comes in, attacks your ears, then fades out completely before a single, echoey, acoustic guitar chord accompanies a single voice. The track only gets better from there, before going into a relatively noticeable reprise of "Breathe." One of the highlights.

"The Great Gig in the Sky" starts out sounding very similar to the original, albeit with American accents instead of English. Then, the processed vocal solo starts, accompanied by a grooving, almost archetypal Flaming Lips synth accompaniment. This track is another one of many on this disc that highlights exactly what FL likes to do with a studio.

"Money" is the only bad track on the disc, and it's not even that bad. It simply doesn't sound as creative or dissonant as the rest of the album. However, the symbolism of the industrial sound kind of makes up for it, so that's okay... I guess.

"Us and Them" is a very mellow track, and never goes into an explosively symphonic section as the original does; it prefers to hang back with atmospheric keyboards and xylophone-like taps. A constant bass drum beats like a heart throughout, and it could almost be a lullaby.

"Any Colour You Like" is another highlight. Whereas the original was very keyboard driven, this version is very guitar driven; it parallels the intro in its interests, and changes the sound of the song in the same way. It's hard, driving, and VERY catchy, despite hardly ever repeating a riff the same way.

"Brain Damage" almost goes into the explosive sections missed by "Us and Them", but just misses the mark (deliberately, of course), preferring to teeter on the edge of of explosiveness rather than carry out to its logical conclusion. A very moody track with a high degree of introspective ambiance.

"Eclipse" is a fitting conclusion, changing the original in (yet again) the same vein as "Any Colour" and "Breathe" did before it. Instead of the symphonic feel, it opts for a guitar driven sound with jarring breaks in the sound after every line of lyrics. It's a weaker track and feels less creative, but it's not unsatisfying.

That's all, folks. I highly suggest giving it a listen if you're into dissonant, sonically jarring music, or if you're a Floyd fan looking for a really fresh take on a great work.

Report this review (#939036)
Posted Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby. As much as I love the Lips and appreciate their love of classic progressive rock music from KC to Yes, this take on PF's DSOTM just comes up short. First of all, they share the bill with Lips front man Wayne Coyne's nephew's band Stardeath and White Dwarfs, and neither have the vocal abilities to carry this material, showing us just how good the vocal abilities are of the Floyd themselves.

Another problem with the material is that it's not going through the usual filter of Flaming Lips distinctive quirky sound as the FL's weave acid rock motifs around the opener Breath, it's reprise and Any Color You Like. Money starts off as a more chunky version of the well known song that immediately sinks as Wayne Coyne's vocal is robotized by vocoder effects. The less said about the butchering of the Great Gig In the Sky by a guest vocalist named Peaches, the better.

This album only drives one to seek out the original upon completion of listening instead of driving you on to other Flaming Lips albums. Bypass this turkey and grab the dark existential Popol Vuh like 2012 album The Terror, or stick with the older feel good psych pop of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and get back into what the Flaming Lips do best. For completists only, 2 stars.

Report this review (#1294279)
Posted Sunday, October 19, 2014 | Review Permalink

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