Yes, We Do Realize
Who can forget the lush, soaring melodies of “Do You Realize??” and the past decade of listeners that fell in love with it (or every commercial and teen movie that featured it)? Modern pop legends or not, The Flaming Lips manage to reinvent their idea of an experimental record while remaining fresh and tasteful. Embryonic is an extensive 18-track album, which is just enough to handle what is going on in its contents.
Opening track “Convinced of the Hex” throws a couple staticky guitar plucks about the left and right channels, while post-punk drums come rolling between the verses. The following track, “The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine,” sounds a tad similar, but acts as an expansion of “Convinced of the Hex.”
“Evil “ is where the band begins to work their magic amongst an astral plane of spacey soundscapes, psychedelic grooviness and minimalism. Reminiscent of Joe Meek and The Tornados’ “Telstar” if it were introduced to anything Beach Boy Brian Wilson produced, “Evil” cuts the pace to a slow and soft lullaby. The percussion-like white noise mixed with the bathroom-reverb vocals by frontman Wayne Coyne introduce the more tranquil and calm parts of the album like “If,” “Gemini Syringes,” and “The Impulse.” Tracks like “Aquarius Sabotage” and “Worm Mountain” show the jammier side of Embryonic, their guitars distorted with chimes aplenty.
By now, we realize that Embryonic is an album of ideas, sounds, and textures rather than songs. Overall, it’s psychedelic, but in a way that satisfies the broader aspect of stoner rock. It’s a way that caters to the Stars of the Lid fans, the Grateful Dead fans, and the pop crowd. “Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast” brings pure ambience, quelling the listener’s strong preconceptions of who The Flaming Lips were 10 years ago.