Studio Album by released in 2009
Embryonic's tracklist:
Convinced of the Hex
The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine
Aquarius Sabotage
See the Leaves
Gemini Syringes
Your Bats
The Ego's Last Stand
I Can Be a Frog
Sagittarius Silver Announcement
Worm Mountain
Scorpio Sword
The Impulse
Silver Trembling Hands
Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast
Watching the Planets

Embryonic review

The Flaming Lips prepared a surprise

The Oklahoma-based band The Flaming Lips are well-known for playing nicely what is considered to be underground and have a following that any pop-performer would be glad to have. With some twenty five years spent on the stage, these guys have long ago learned to write songs in the same vein and yet avoid the unpleasant label ‘self-copying’. Indeed, if you consider their most successful efforts, you will definitely find their hearty ballads, explosive rock anthems and beautiful instrumental pieces. It’s a standard set for a standard rock act. It is very efficient if you have enough performing skills and creative ideas, both widely possessed by The Flaming Lips. It has been, is and seems to be so, right? Before you say ‘right’, you better think twice. The 2009 release of The Flaming Lips new album called Embryonic is a big surprise to the band’s followers, and a pleasant one.

Psychedelic touch of the seventies on a 2009 album

Surprising will you find even the artwork of the American band’s new album. Eye-catching, slightly eerie and, of course, intriguing, it is a perfect cover supposed to promote what is on the CD. You will also be surprised with the length of the album. Here we deal with a double CD, which always gives rise to suspicions. Too many times we have tested such dragged out records where, sad to say, there were a couple of songs simply to fill the gaps. But in this case there is a reason for this; and you’ll get it as soon as you start listening to the album’s opener, Convinced of the Hex. Although having a traditional rock-song structure consisting of verses and choruses, this composition is rather on the psychedelic side reminding us of the seventies. Gradually, step by step, you’ll be descending into the futuristic or outer space realm that you will be able to leave far from soon. The album lasts for more than seventy minutes and yet features really short songs. One of them is See the Leaves, expression of thoughts regarding death and reincarnation. This is track number five on the album and you have already lost the way back. What you have ahead is the road forward through dusk, nerves and unreality. The only companions you have here are the sounds of instruments, voices and special effects. There are times when combinations of them hardly sound like what we are used to calling a song. Take, for instance, a strange piece called I Can Be a Frog. Some of the tracks are not songs, but rather bridges joining more meaningful songs. However, as you keep on listening to this album, the boundaries between the songs seem to vanish leaving one big Embryonic world.

Embryonic: a special album for a special occasion

There is no point discussing the labor of each participant of The Flaming Lips separately. In a quarter of a century, they have already shown practically everything they can show, which makes it meaningless to expect anything new from them. But we have to thank the musicians for this courageous and decisive act. Releasing a double CD, featuring more than an hour of music, is always taking risks. Some of such works are truly hard to listen to the last song as you start to get annoyed by the repeated themes. And there are those songs that you want to skip as they seem a bad match to the record. It is really difficult to skip a song on Embryonic because the whole album is taken as one integral piece of art. This is how the legendary Pink Floyd, once a flashlight for The Flaming Lips, made their own releases. Like any other conceptual album, and furthermore, a psychedelic album with a very specific mood, Embryonic should not be listened to any time and any place. This music can hardly serve you as a sound background for other activities, yet it is capable of making you forget the current problems and allows you to safely leave this reality to take a trip to another one.

Alex Bartholomew (20.10.2009)
Rate review5.00
Total votes - 5

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