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10/27 KUMD Album Review: The Flaming Lips
When it comes to covering a song, musicians have two options: they can stick to the source material, or they can take artistic liberty and reimagine the work entirely. Some song covers are even disputed as being better than the original (Looking at you Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower”). With the latest record from psychedelic pioneers and indie darlings The Flaming Lips, we see the ultimate cover challenge; a complete reimaging of the famed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.
The band takes on a star studded feature ensemble that includes the likes of Foxygen, Miley Cyrus, My Morning Jacket and many other notable artists. The work itself has some incredibly interesting moments, from the temporal shifting opener "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" to the eerie and spacey "Fixing a Hole". You get special vibes from their yet incredibly synth layered epic of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and no one can deny the happy go lucky guitar riffing on "Getting Better". However, this isn't to say that the album isn't without its bad moments. You don't need to necessarily point to a specific song, but throughout the record some synths (such as in the "Sgt. Pepper" reprises) or auto-tune vocals (on the track "With A Little Help from my Friends") will stick out in a track and make the listener scratch their head befuddled. As well, for Beatles purists, there will be complaints at how they overextended time on a couple tracks or took liberty with changing up a melody, time signature, or just with the instrument arrangement. The album itself is a mixed bag of weird moments, both wonderful and disconcerting. If there is one thing to be noted though, is that The Flaming Lips, along with all their "fwends", really took care into creating a real tribute to an album by a band that is so well beloved. Whether it is loved by a listener is really depending on their view of the original, but no one can deny they really made it their own.
FOCUS TRACKS: Getting Better, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Fixing A Hole, Good Morning Good Morning
RELATED ARTISTS: The Beatles, Animal Collective, Tame Impala, Lava Lamps
You can hear this album and more indie jams during The Basement on KUMD 103.3 FM Duluth Public Radio – student run radio every night after 9 o'clock! Stream online at KUMD.org. The Basement is Duluth Underground Radio.