In absolutely horrific news, Flaming Lips have seen fit to re-make 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band' with a selection of people they call their 'fwends', the thought of which makes me puke with the whole matey celeb pointlessness of it. Miley Cyrus is on there as is Juliana Barwick and My Morning Jacket. Sometimes the worst ideas turn out ok but I have visions of the Bee Gees still despairing appearance of the film version of the album back in 1978. Flaming Lips have done some good music over the years so I hold out some kind of hope. But on paper a terrible, back-slapping, vapid idea.
CD £5.25 BELLA457CD
CD on Bella Union feat. Julianna Barwick, My Morning Jacket, Morgan Delt, Moby, Miley Cyrus etc.
Vinyl LP £18.99 BELLA457V
Neon orange coloured vinyl LP + CD on Bella Union feat. Julianna Barwick, My Morning Jacket, Morgan Delt, Moby, Miley Cyrus etc.
- Coloured vinyl
To be fair it looked like a bad idea from the get go. Running-on-fumes psychsters Flaming Lips invite a bunch of their ‘fwends’ including Miley Cyrus, Moby and Tegan and Sara to collaborate on a reworking of The Beatles classic ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’. What could possibly go wrong? The result is at times unlistenable bordering on offensive and you are left wondering if this is even worse than the Bee Gees still despairing efforts in the laughable 1974 movie of the album.
First up, the album is so well known and so ubiquitous that any attempt at covering it in its entirety is pointless as the songs are too familiar to be able to squeeze any new life from them. Secondly, the band appear to eschew playing the songs with anything near a straight bat and instead romp through them in a ‘wacky’ style that is not befitting of men of their age and grates throughout. There are so many bad moments that I don’t have time to list them all. They ruin for good my childhood favourite ‘Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite’, ‘Getting Better’ is sung by an out of key homeless guy, ‘Good Morning’ starts ok until they summon the ghost of Beach Boys severely whacked ‘Smiley Smile’ and for a millisecond on ‘Fixing a Hole’ you remember that this was once quite a nice song. There are moments like this where they lay off the wackiness and effects and play the songs with some subtlety resulting in moments of sweet, stripped-back otherworldly versions which kind of work.
But for every partial success there are huge catastrophes ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ is, for some reason, sung in a cockney accent, the title track is equally bad each time they attempt it but the nadir and possibly the nadir of the entire history of recorded music comes with ‘With A Little Help For My Friends’ which is ‘sung’ in a distorted caterwaul, screeching away out of tune. Am I getting too serious about this? Maybe. But bands like Flaming Lips get to the stage where they can do what the hell they like and as discerning music listeners it’s our job to say ‘Stop, this is simply not on’.
“We hope that you enjoyed the show?” No. I fucking hated it.
8/10 Chumley 3rd November 2014
Weeeeeeeeeeeee! What a trip! Fantastic when listened to with a pair of world-cancelling headphones. There are some seriously spectacular firework pop moments of bedazzlement on this album. I must own this on vinyl when I get me pocket money. Shhh - see if you can spot the fab four popping their heads up through the digital wash. John Lennon makes numerous appearances - winking at you, and you nod with an 'Ahhhh' and a sweet rush up the spine as he dives back into the undulating psychedelic digital wash. Wooooooooooooo!
3/10 Sean 29th October 2014
To regurgitate my reply to the Norman Records Tweet on the topic: it sucks with the desperation of a drowning man surfacing for the last time. And that comment doesn't come easily from a long time Flaming Lips fan who is not averse to their covers.
For instance, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was IMMENSE at the End Of The Road, but Miley Cyrus adds nothing whatsoever to the recorded version other than her name and the sad frisson of youthful naughtiness it carries.
The annoying thing is that they can do much better than this, even when they are collaborating, The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends being a good example. Truly one for the hardcore collectors only.
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