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189) Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin

In 1999 I was still avidly searching the music press for anything and suddenly Flaming Lips were everywhere, I had heard of them, but they were a cult act as far as I was aware, but The Soft Bulletin was album of the week/month across the press. When an album is this universally liked you have to investigate but this was post-divorce paying maintenance time (I was only twenty-eight but had decided to mess up early) so when I met my mate on the way home from work and he told me he had bought it I nagged him for a few days until he gave me a loan.Damn, I didn’t like it, very much like when I first heard Jonathan Donahue from Mercury Rev  I just could not take Wayne Coyne’s voice.I grew to love Deserters Songs so a couple of years later after Soft Bulletin had won album of the year pretty much everywhere I bought it cheap in a second hand shop (I’m not mean, honest just had no money).When you have parted with your own money you make more of an effort, still not mean, so it went on more than once and I had noticed that producer Dave Fridmann had also produced Deserter’s Songs so there was a link.


Then it finally hit. I put the record on again and the drums and sheer glory of the music washes over you on the opener Race for the Prize. This is a record of lush orchestrations, distorted guitars up front drums, key changes (but not in a weird way thy embellish the songs) and Coyne laying himself out there for us all to see, try The Spiderbite Song as an example.


Both of the above are highlights, The Spark That Bled is minimal and then becomes a lush song, a mini symphony for your ears. I love the simplicity of the piano at the start of What is the Light? And Waitin’ for a superman shuffles along with a well-placed chime, trumpet and piano, beautiful. The Gash, wonderful strings and the choir is an inspired idea and lose yourself in Feeling Yourself Disintegrate.


Some albums you love the second you hear the opening track some take a bit of effort; this record is so worth the effort.




GIVE IT A STREAM: The Spark That Bled

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