BLAST FROM THE PAST!
Lips The Day They Shot A Hole In The
Jesus Egg (Restless/Rykodisc)
must confess that I only got into the Lips with the hullabaloo surrounding the
release of The Soft Bulletin. So, I
was glad to read about the re-issue of the Lips’ entire back catalogue with
Restless Records before Wayne and his merry band jumped ship to Warners. Egg
is the 2nd part of the re-issue programme collecting the final
Restless LP, In A Priest Driven Ambulance and the oft-bootlegged demo booty Mushroom
Tapes over a two CD set.
all accounts, the album proper is an absolute psychedelic acid punk gem and
features a pre-Mercury Rev Jonathan Donahue on guitar contributing his own
distinctive talents to Wayne Coyne’s flipped out sonic landscapes.
as the band’s ‘religious album’ by Coyne’s next-door neighbour, In
A Priest Driven Ambulance contains all the external freak beat rudiments –
raging feedback, massive distortion, sound effects, incoherent wordplay and
Coyne’s Neil-on-helium vocalizing.
what sets the Lips apart from your run-of-the-mill punk and lays the groundwork
for the future masterpiece that is The
Soft Bulletin, is that underneath the sheen of difficult tonalities &
incomprehensible jargon beats a fragile soft pop heart. Wayne Coyne is after
all, a romantic. How else do you explain the fairly straight faced (for the Lips
anyway!) version of “(What A) Wonderful World” shorn of the expected
classic Lips tracks like the optimistic “Rainin’ Babies” – ‘This is my
present to the world/
And I want you to take it/This is my present to the world/Take it from me, please please take it from me,” the driving “Unconsciously Screamin’” – ‘Seeing the unseeable, filling down the void/We're not what we used to be/We're not really boys,’ and the thought-provoking from-a-whisper-to-a-scream “Five Stop Mother Superior Rain” – ‘My hands are in the air/And that's where they always are/You're f--ked if you do, and you're f--ked if you don't/Five stop mother superior rain,’ demonstrated that the Lips were destined to be much more than rank amateur punk rockers.
Mushroom Tapes are if anything even more ‘out there’ than the final
recordings, if that is at all possible for the Lips. A loose, spontaneous,
unconscious vibe permeates these demos sometimes enhancing the effect –
noticeably on the raucous “Mountain Side” and the spacey “Unconsciously
Screamin’” (another funked up version appears as a bonus track which attests
to the magnificence of the song surely). But revealing also the off-the –cuff
jams like “God’s A Wheeler Dealer” where Coyne and Donaghue trade vocal
and guitar licks, the dirge-like “Agonizing” and the authentic “Jam.”
Bonus tracks include the incongruously joyous “Golden Hearse,” seriously
bizarre versions of “Stand in Line” and “Five Stop Mother Superior
Rain,” not to mention a truly valuable cover of the Sonics’ “Strychnine”
melded with Nick Lowe’s “Peace, Love and Understanding.”
Flaming Lips Official site