[one_half last=”yes”]THE FLAMING LIPS
With A Little Help From My Fwends
Label: Bella Union
1. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – My Morning Jacket, Fever The Ghost, and J Mascis
2. “With A Little Help From My Friends” – The Flaming Lips, Black Pus, and The Autumn Defense
3. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” – The Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus, and Moby
4. “Getting Better” – Dr. Dog, Chuck Inglish, and Morgan Delt
5. “Fixing A Hole” – Electric Wurms
6. “She’s Leaving Home” – Phantogram, Juliana Barwick, and Spaceface
7. “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!” – The Flaming Lips, MJ Keenan, Puscifer, and Sunbears!
8. “Within You Without You” – Birdflower, The Flaming Lips, and Morgan Delt
9. “When I’m Sixty-Four” – Def Rain, The Flaming Lips, and Pitchwafuzz
10. “Lovely Rita” – Tegan And Sera and Stardeath And White Dwarfs
11. “Good Morning Good Morning” – Zorch, Grace Potter, and Treasure Mammal
12. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” – Foxygen and Ben Goldwasser
13. “A Day In The Life” – The Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus, and New Fumes
NBHAP Rating: 2,5/5
Sticking fingers in the pie
THE BEATLES‘ 1967 record Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band immediately found its footing as a psychedelic masterpiece. Rolling Stone has since heralded it as the ‘greatest rock and roll album of all time’. Does this hoist it up to a height where it should remain free of reinterpretation? According to THE FLAMING LIPS‘ frontman Wayne Coyne, definitely not: ‘That [idea] of it being this untouchable thing — you know, to us, it’s just the opposite,’ he said recently to NPR. ‘The better it is, the MORE you want to touch it.’ And who else possesses the absurdity and vague insanity required to poke fingers around in this pie more so than THE FLAMING LIPS?
Friends in high places
With A Little Help From My Fwends features a whole spectrum of high-profile collaborations. The opening track is host to MY MORNING JACKET and J MASCIS, and from there the celebrity banquet unravels completely; MOBY, FOXYGEN, and MGMT are all seated at the sonic feast, as, of course, is the infamous pop sensation MILEY CYRUS. It does beg the age-old question, however: do too many cooks spoil the broth? With A Little Help From My Fwends comes together to create a cacophony, a hotpot of chaos that is certainly ambitious, certainly brave, though also rather scattered. Its departures from the original are interesting enough, but aesthetically – it’s a little on the limp side.
Beauty in subtlety
There are a number of points during With A Little Help From Fwends in which the noise just blares, and not in the delicious garage/drone sense; more like a malfunctioning loudspeaker rattling your ear and making you scrunch your nose in discomfort (especially the title track). The most impressive moments in the record tend to be those where the bombast is stripped back a little; for example, Fixing A Hole, which rides out a smooth, slightly melancholy thread and She’s Leaving Home, which features the breathy vocals and simplistic beats of PHANTOGRAM.
‘With A Little Help From My Fwends’ is an ambitious, impressively experimental record – though it’s no match for the revolutionary material of its predecessor.