Review Summary: Predictable... in the best way possible.
Everything is in its right place, perfectly as you would expect a Flaming Lips and Neon Indian collaboration to play out. With little fanfare, Wayne Coyne personally hand-delivers the EP to record stores in his local Oklahoma City area (only two stores are reported to be carrying the EP at this point), the artwork is indistinct, and a main facet of the all-vinyl release is that not two single vinyls are adorned with the same color or pattern-- unique, and exactly what we could expect from such a work. The collaboration makes perfect sense, after all. If Wayne Coyne wasn’t nearing the age where he can begin collecting Social Security, it’s easy to imagine The Flips embracing the fuzzy, nostalgic, laid-back leanings of chillwave. Neon Indian, members of the small-but-growing chillwave clan, fit perfectly together with their older counterparts in this collaboration. Both parties commit to indulging in the same drugged-out atmosphere in their lives, and the music seems to follow suit. Naturally, the smooth crackling of songs like “Is David Bowie Dying” reflect the bands’ propensity to mesh; and the track showcases Coyne’s buoyant vocals, which were used sparingly to my chagrin. “Alan’s Theremin” displays is an anesthetized, repetitive slow burner that the listener can choose to lose themselves in between the bleeps, or delegate the song to background music (I recommend the former). Side A of The Flaming Lips And Neon Indian
concludes with lagging rhythms, hazy reverb, and some seriously spacey vocals. It illustrates how the collaboration takes more than a few hints from the chillwave scene, but isn’t necessarily committed to making a dancefloor-ready piece. Instead, the bands’ product is a captivating effort, brimming with immediacy, and always tip-toeing the precipice that dumps off into the psychedelic and experimental (coming closest to the edge on Side B, “Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth, Part 2”). Given the bands’ histories and obvious inclinations towards drugged-out rhythms, hazy droning, and weirdness for the sake of weirdness, it’s safe to say the Flips’ collaboration with Neon Indian is one of the most predictable things I’ve heard in a long time. I don’t think anybody would say that’s necessarily a negative, though, besides that fact that they should really
get in touch with a distributor.