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Telepathic Surgery

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Album Review

With a few more studio tweaks and tricks at play, part of the band's continual efforts to find out just what could be done with a studio, Telepathic Surgery is pretty much the companion piece to Oh My Gawd!!!, blending the same great, crazy combination of influences into the mix. That the opening track has everything from a rushed Sonic Youth rhythm roil to heavily flanged guitar solos that are all treble and back again isn't surprising at all, really. Coyne later described the album as more open-ended experimentation with overdubs than a collection of songs per se — some of the random orchestral samples and other drop-ins indicate as much — but Telepathic Surgery has its joys, as much garage rock nuttiness as fried, off-kilter post-punk. Coyne himself is still in rough voice in plenty of places, but finding his own bit by bit; he still doesn't really sound like he would in the '90s, but the gentler side creeps in here and there. "Chrome Plated Suicide," another in the string of Lips songs with brilliant titles, has him sounding a lot more wistful than on numerous other full-on crunch monsters. Call it the bells on "Chrome Plated Suicide" that also help the slightly dreamier feeling, even as Coyne peels off a nicely zonked guitar solo halfway through. Other fun titles (and fine songs) include "Redneck School of Technology" and "The Spontaneous Combustion of John," the latter a short but fun little track. Then there's the cryptic subtitle of "Hari-Krishna Stomp Wagon" — "f*ck Led Zeppelin" — which may yet forever remain a mystery given the Lips' own clear influence by said group. The most notorious track actually only surfaced on the CD version — "Hell's Angel's Cracker Factory," a nearly 25-minute-long zone through backwards-run vocals, endless solos, trance drums, and more.


Formed: 1983 in Oklahoma City, OK

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Even within the eclectic world of alternative rock, few bands were so brave, so frequently brilliant, and so deliciously weird as the Flaming Lips. From their beginnings as Oklahoma weirdos to their mid-'90s pop culture breakthrough to their status as one of the most respected groups of the 2000s, the Lips rode one of the more surreal and haphazard career trajectories in pop music. An acid-bubblegum band with as much affinity for sweet melodies as blistering noise assaults, their off-kilter sound,...
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