April 9, 2019 The Flaming Lips – King’s Mouth: Music And Songs (Album Review)
The Flaming Lips have never been a band that fit a certain mold or followed any specific trends. In fact, there is nothing ordinary about the band. Which is why it is strange to think they have decided to release a brand new full-length album on Record Store Day, April 13, 2019 through Warner Bros. Records. Normally a special holiday-like event for rare re-prints, limited release 45s, or picture vinyls, few have actually picked Record Store Day to release a completely new LP, but this is The Flaming Lips we’re talking about.
Their first album of new material since 2017’s Oczy Mlody, King’s Mouth: Music And Songs will exclusively be released in stores only on Record Store Day 2019, with remaining stock available via other outlets including the internet the day after. Their 15th studio album, it will be issued as a 12-inch colored vinyl, limited to 4,000 copies, the special solid gold vinyl serves as the only version of the title in the marketplace until July!
A bold statement by the band, adding to the intrigue they invited The Clash’s Mick Jones to act as narrator on King’s Mouth: Music and Songs. Additionally, paralleling the album, a museum installation of Frontman Wayne Clyne’s artwork is touring in its hypnotic psychedelic forms.
With these details revealed, let’s get right down to the album. Complete with 12 songs, listeners have thirsted for new music since the aforementioned Cozy Mlody’s last freshened musical waters will not feel slighted. King’s Mouth: Music and Songs brings to mind Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals and 1979’s The Wall to mind. In fact, Wayne Coyne (vocals), Michael Ivins (bass), Steven Drozd (guitars/keyboards), and Derek Brown (guitars/keyboards) create an incredible trip. This is heady compositional stuff, not just your normal everyday tunes.
An immediate euphoric recall of tracks like 2009’s “The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine,” “We-Don’t-Know-How-And-We-Don’t-Know-Why” begins the journey with beautiful, softly hopeful orchestrally driven imagery. A perfect film project for Tim Burton or Wes Anderson, from here, the orchestral album consists of transitions. That said, The Flaming Lips achieve excellence with cuts like “Giant Baby” and its haunting lyricism juxtaposed ethereal musicality. Sonically dropping down a into a place where Danny Elfman might live, the expansive break of “Mother Universe” is the only pause you will need in this Rock Opera. This in mind, there is something for everyone here, and for the EDM fans, with a twitchy bass drive, “Feedaloodum-Beedle-Dot” may be your jam.
Overall, to single out some songs above others on King’s Mouth: Music and Songs is unfair to the entire collection as a work of musical art. Sure, some songs like “Funeral Parade” stand alone; parallels to current events, politics, and the state of world affairs its dramatic context is wrapped in instrumentation. Touching on what being human is, The Flaming Lips offer up the lyrically brilliant “All for the City” and its companion “Mouth of the King” as ethereal tracks framed in an aesthetic of encouragement to face complete loss. Add the narration of Mick Jones, with cheers for death to the king, it is a bizarrely inviting oasis.
Some albums are spiritual experiences, and it is not blasphemous to say King’s Mouth: Music and Songs is one of them. The Flaming Lips invite listeners to take some time and immerse themselves in a sonic slam dunking of sound. That is why Cryptic Rock gives King’s Mouth: Music and Songs 5 out of 5 stars.