No matter what era of the band, The Flaming Lips have always gone out of their way to top each release of whatever they did prior to it. It’s a thing that’s given the band longevity while growing their sound across ages and genres for the past twenty years. It doesn’t happen often with the band, but every once and a while they recapture their past while still moving forward. On their new album King’s Mouth: Music and Songs, the not only craft their strongest album in years, they also remind you of why you loved them in the first place.
The concept album that traces the life of a giant king from birth to adulthood and is narrated by Mick Jones of The Clash. That’s about as heady as the record gets in terms of what it is. Essentially, it will remind you of albums like The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots in its overall feel, but it’s also not retracing any steps. It’s very forward, the songs trickle in and blast off once they get some steam in them, and the band expands further on studio album number fifteen for those keeping track. “The Sparrow” with it’s soft touched opening and trance induced pop electronica blooms like a baby opening its eyes. There’s a lot of life in the track that utilizes modern instrumentation with traditional, sounding like what The Beatles would do if they were still releasing music. “How Many Times” has the feeling of modern electro-pop while still containing all the The Flaming Lips universe is made up of. “Feedaloodum Beedle Dot (feat. Mick Jones)” sounds like a fevered dream where the darkness and the light come together in a symphonic and melodic narrative from the future.
But with all of this, it’s how the album plays out. The songs that hit do so with an intensity that the band hasn’t employed in years. The songs that are closer to a lullaby are done with a grace and texture that feel like they’re coming from the most gentle parts of the soul. This is The Flaming Lips album we’ve all wanted for a while, the sound we hoped would come from a band that never really retraces their steps, but can still remind you of the wonder years whenever they want to.
King’s Mouth: Music and Songs is available to stream on all platforms, it can be purchased from all digital music retailers or physically directly from Warner Bros. Records. The Flaming Lips are on tour beginning tomorrow in Wichita, KS at WAVE until October 11 in Lake Perris, CA at Desert Daze. The band’s complete tour schedule can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by George Salisbury.