Embryonic, the Flaming Lips' 12th release, is a monster of an album. The Oklahoma trio channeled all the psychedelic guitars and raw sound they could into 18 tracks that sound more in tune with 1990's In a Priest Driven Ambulance than any album since, bringing back the propulsive energy that first got them noticed.
Opener "Convinced of the Hex" sets the proceedings in motion, starting off with a guitar scream, buzzing bass, and a declaration of "the difference between us," which may be referring to this collection and the rest of their recent studio efforts.
The band rolls full bore until tracks 7 to 10, when they let you take a breather, and it's needed after the sonic assault you've just been through. In this middle section, they take their time laying down Pink Floyd sounds slowly but steadily, leaving you "Powerless."
"The Ego's Last Stand" starts with a steady bass from Michael Ivins, while Wayne Coyne sings in his feathery falsetto "The only way out is destroy all traces," as if they're trying to leave nothing but these songs in your mind.
"Sagittarius Silver Announcement" recalls Joy Division as they pull into the final stretch of the album that takes you on rollercoaster of increasing intensity, only slowing before they release everything they have on bombastic closer "Watching the Planets."
Album title: Embryonic
Artist: the Flaming Lips
Label: Warner Bros.
Songs: (1) Convinced of the Hex (2) The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine (3) Evil (4) Aquarius Sabotage (5) See the Leaves (6) If (7) Gemini Syringes (8) Your Bats (9) Powerless (10) The Ego's Last Stand (11) I Can Be a Frog (12) Sagittarius Silver Announcement (13) Worm Mountain (14) Scorpio Sword (15) The Impulse (16) Silver Trembling Hands (17) Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast (18) Watching the Planets