Originally released as a Record Store Day vinyl-only offering this year, The Flaming Lips now unleash the King’s Mouth as their 15th official album.
As has become customary for the band, it’s a sonic move that feels in line with their constant sense of unpredictability. While all the music is new and original, it shares a thematic thread with singer Wayne Coyne’s recent work in the art world and his exhibition: King’s Mouth: Immerse Heap Trip Fantasy Experience.
The band have enlisted The Clash’s Mick Jones to act as something of a connecting narrator, his straight-talking London accent acting as a tonal counterpoint to Coyne’s dreamy, fragile and distinctly American voice.
It results in a record that shifts between tones, textures and rhythms constantly, unfurling like a dream that feels scattered but still somehow connected. It’s not a record loaded with pop hits, but as ever with the Lips, even during its most abstract and experimental moments there are inescapable bursts of melody.
However, it’s actually during some of the stranger moments that the record feels most alive. The often hip-hop-esque production merges with the squelches of electronics, dreamy atmospheres and unusual pattern shifts to form something that often feels distinctly cinematic. This is given further weight by the role of the narrator, and one feels transported into a journey unfolding both sonically and lyrically.
It’s unlikely any of these tracks will become lung-busting festival anthems, but the King’s Mouth adds another unique and unpredictable chapter to The Flaming Lips’ legacy.
Daniel Dylan Wray