Love ’em or hate ’em, it’s tough to deny the genius of the Flaming Lips. On this, the band’s 12th studio album, Wayne Coyne and his fellow psychedelic merry-makers return with a collage of songs that hark back to early Lips days, replete with barely there production values and bizarre-o instrumental flourishes. Tracks like “Sagittarius Silver Announcement” and “Worm Mountain” are classic Flaming Lips, packed tight with computer noise, high-pitched harmonization, and muddied guitars to create something that sounds like an acid trip. For “Evil,” Coyne & Co. let minimalist, spacey effects slowly lead the way to haunting vocals and eerily grainy guitar distortion, while “Silver Trembling Hands” creates a world where cheesy ’80s synth and Rodgers & Hammerstein-style overtures meld perfectly. In short, Embryonic is whacked-out grandiosity done on the lo-fi tip, and the result is nothing short of spectacular.


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