By Al Kaufman
There are two sets of Flaming Lips fans. There are the ones who went out and bought extra CD players so that they could play all four CDs of Zaireeka simultaneously, as they were meant to be played. And then there are those who like the band's just accessible enough to make it on the radio hits, like "She Don't Use Jelly" and "Do You Realize."
Embryonic is is firmly entrenched in former group. There is nary a song on here that follows any type to verse/chorus rule. Instead, Wayne Coyne and company force the listener to pay attention to the structure (or lack thereof) of the songs.
Opening cut, "Convinced of the Hex," has the closest thing to an actual melody. But from its jarring opening guitar note, the listener can tell right away that this is not your typical FM fare. Coyne's repetition of the line, "That's the difference between us," seems obvious.
The Lips then proceed to take the listener for a joyride through the aural landscape, full of ambient sounds and moods, and space-age psychedelia that would fit right in on the next remake of Metropolis.
The Lips have always been fans of Pink Floyd, especially in terms of their over the top live shows. Here, "Worm Mountain," with it's marching drum sounds and militant chorus, sounds like something right out of The Wall. Like the opening cut, it almost sounds like an actual song.
While it would be easy to write this disc off as an example of self-indulgence and pretentiousness, Coyne has some type of theme going on here. There are various interludes titled after astrological signs, and other songs make allusions to looking to space for the answer. But the answer to this riddle may very well be in the title of the CD, Embryonic. Perhaps these are songs in their pre-natal stage. They are wildly creative ideas that have not fully formed. They are missing an arm or a leg, but are magnificent in their beauty (if you take the time to look for it) in their own way.