The Flaming Lips
Transmissions From the Satellite Heart


4.0
excellent

Review

by IAJP USER (42 Reviews)
August 18th, 2010 | 26 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The scattershot approach seems to work for The Flaming Lips on their sixth album, an album of obscure genius and good quality filler.

Shotguns work on a fairly simple basis. They explode and fire out lots of little pellets, each of which causes individual small scale damage, which, when combined causes even more damage. There are obvious limitations of shotgun shells. For example, the shell can not fire from a long range, and as such damage decreases over distance.

This seems to me to be the perfect analogy for the Flaming Lips. The band pools all of it's energy into a few strong tracks per album, loads it in, and fires, hoping for the best. Occasionally this works for some bands, and on Transmissions From the Satellite Heart, the band's sixth album, it all (bizarrely) seems to work for the Flaming Lips. Up until this point the band seemed content to fill albums with crap and forgettable alternative rock, and slip in the odd excellent track.

But no, this album is not like that. It is perhaps the band's most solid album to date in fact, and as such it carves itself out a very unique niche in 90's alternative rock, amongst tough contemporaries, R.E.M., Nirvana and Pavement, a sound which still sounds fresh and well executed today.

Turn It On opens the album and sets out the band's slacker ethos and sound from the very start, with Coyne's barely in tune vocals, loose guitar work and fleeting drumbeat, an enjoyable and memorable sound that is continued and expanded upon in Pilot Can at the Queer of God and Oh, My Pregnant Head (Labia in the Sunlight). Flaming Lips were, and still are known for their quirky, often nonsensical song titles, some of which are extremely fun, while others just miss the mark. The former is annoying and nonsensical in the worst, most grammatically-subversive and self conscious way, the track, thankfully is a great experiment in atonal noisy rock, which doesn't overstay it's welcome at just over four minutes. The latter is a less successful track, slightly rudderless and not really as fun as the album could have had it.

Thankfully the album doesn't fall by the Lips' side at this point, and She Don't Use Jelly follows; a triumphant, ridiculous and utterly obscure gem of a track, which even more bizarrely, became a massive hit single for the band, breaking them into MTV and the mainstream, a position which they've obviously held ever since. Chewin' The Apple Of Your Eye and Superhumans are fun, if not slightly arduous tracks which continue in the vein of the precedent set.

This is the problem and indeed the solution to this album. It's predictability is indeed a limitation and a plus point, because it simply is so ingenious, why the hell would you not want to imitate it? Yet somehow this logic seems flawed in itself, an assumption that the Flaming Lips could do considerably better throughout mires the album from track six onwards. The benchmark is set high on the first four tracks, and as such the rest of the album can play out as consistent and excellent as the rest of it, or it can play out as boring, pointless and ground that's already been covered. It literally is up to you to decide which camp you fall into.



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user ratings (341)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
porch
August 18th 2010


8460 Comments


Never really liked this as much as some of their other earlier albums



loveisamixtape
August 18th 2010


6274 Comments


second paragraph, I think it should be bizarrely seems instead of seems bizarrely.

but great review man. pos'd

Disconnected
August 18th 2010


485 Comments


It was about time that this got a review. I almost wrote a review myself.



WeepingBanana
August 18th 2010


10217 Comments


i need to get this. i only know She Don't Use Jelly (of course). song is so much fun

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2010


6339 Comments


Out of curiosity, i purchased this years ago.

It didn't got to me with the first five listens, so i left it aside.

Maybe i should get back at this.

Their approach on Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon was great.





a small typo:

some of which are extremely fun, others which miss the mark

while others just (or you can omit the word "just") miss the mark

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

any14doomsday
August 18th 2010


679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0


"Up until this point the band seemed content to fill albums with crap and forgettable alternative rock, and slip in the odd excellent track."



I have never agreed with anything less.

porch
August 18th 2010


8460 Comments


yeah especially as In A Priest Driven Ambulance is in their top 3 albums imo

Ire
August 18th 2010


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

gotta check this out soon

IAJP
August 18th 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hey guys cheers for the feedback, this may seem a bit rushed but in a way i feel that suits the album, will edit the bits fo crap and mistakes out now! cheers dawgs.

IAJP
August 18th 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

done and done. cheers!

ShyGuy
August 18th 2010


143 Comments


I've wanted to get into this band for the longest time... What's a good starting album?

IAJP
August 18th 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this, yoshimi battles the pink robots or in a priest driven ambulance man

Ire
August 19th 2010


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I've wanted to get into this band for the longest time... What's a good starting album?


The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi are great.

Ire
November 17th 2011


41829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

it's a grower

Penlord
February 21st 2013


186 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

review is well-written but I disagree so harshly I don't know if I want to pos

GetOutOfMyHouse
October 25th 2013


214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love how it says in the liner notes: Please play all tracks at maximum volume.
I know I did.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
November 5th 2013


13452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool album agreed

YoYoMancuso
January 16th 2014


11222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

man this band rules

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
January 16th 2014


13452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude

YoYoMancuso
January 16th 2014


11222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Ronald Jones >>>



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