The Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic
"Clouds Taste Metallic" was the follow-up to the critically acclaimed "Transmissions From The Satellite Heart". Released in 1995, this record was (by many accounts, but not all) a step up from "Transmissions From The Satellite Heart". It's easy to see why. The record is full of trademark upbeat, fun catchy songs, wierd sounds and Wayne Coyne's oddball lyrics and songtitles. This record was also released before "Zaireeka" and "The Soft Bulletin" and hints at what the future of the band would have been.
Wayne Coyne - Vocals/Guitar/Songwriting
Ronald Jones - Guitar
Michael Ivins - Bass
Steven Drozd - Drums
Despite the fact that "Clouds Taste Metallic" received a lot of critical praise, it didn't find much acceptance with fans and reduced the Flaming Lips back to their 'cult status'. For someone who knows nothing about The Flaming Lips, they could easy be forgiven for thinking that Wayne Coyne is either insane or on a large quantity of drugs. One only needs to look at the song titles and listen to some of the lyrics to understand that Wayne Coyne isn't exactly 'a normal guy'. It is, however, through Coyne's wierdness that this record suceeds. It's hard to imagine this music with lyrics about "normal" subjects.
As mentioned earlier, this album hints at what the band were looking at doing with later works such as "The Soft Bulletin" and "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots". That said, this is a brilliant album in it's own right, and in many ways, better than it's predecessors. While a lot of the moods and sounds are quite similar, the instrumentation is a lot less spacey and electronic. It makes use of fun and silly guitar sounds, distorted bass lines and groovy drum beats. Many of the song titles are long and sometimes seem nonsensical with titles such as "Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saved The World".Some of the tracks on the album are just silly but fun to listen to ("Brainville, "This Here Giraffe", "Christmas At The Zoo"), some rock harder than others ("Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saved The World", "Lightning Strikes The Postman") and others just fall in the middle.
The drums on the album are powerful and work alongside the instruments, as well as coming foward in the overall mix. Coyne's voice is not technically good, but with this music, there is no way the band could have a better singer. The bass is especically interesting in the way it is used to create different melodies, rather than just playing "doo doo doo doo" rhythms. The most interesting is the way the two guitars work together, creating different melodies around each other without overpowering one another. While the album doesn't have as many different crazy effects and sounds as it's followers, there are many different sounds on offer for the listener. There are a few epic tracks ("Bad Days" being an example") on the album in the vein of "In The Morning Of The Magicians" or "The Spark That Bled".
The album's opener (possibly the best track on the album), "Abandoned Hospital Ship" makes use of some nice piano parts to kick it off.
Despite all of the comparisons to the band's later work, this album is just as good, if not better than "Yoshimi..." or "The Soft Bulletin". The album has it's own sound and it definitely isn't as dark as the band's early material and it feels much happier than the more recent Flaming Lips records as well, despite some titles like "Evil Will Prevail". While the album does have it's own sound, it feels like more of a big mash of songs that are all related, rather than an record with different specifically defined songs. This is both a good and a bad thing. The one great thing about this record, however, is that there is not one bad song on it to be found. There are no repetetive and often boring instrumentals that will have the listener reaching for the skip button (these were found on "Yoshimi" and "Soft Bulletin"). Overall, "Clouds Taste Metallic" is an excellent and fun record with very few flaws. It's hard not to reccomend almost every track.
- Great sounds with a good mix of musical styles
- Fun music that anyone can like
- Good melodies
- Lots of new things to discover with each listen
- Some listeners may not like the odd lyrics
- Songs aren't always clearly defined
- Production could be a litter smoother
Abandoned Hospital Ship
Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus With Needles
This Here Giraffe
Christmas At The Zoo
Bad Days [Aurally Excited Version][Mix]
FINAL RATING: 4.7/5