The Flaming Lips are back and as weird as ever, returning to their beautiful psychedelic rock best with their new concept album, The King's Mouth.
Their 15th studio album sees frontman Wayne Coyne and his band joined by former guitarist for The Clash, Mick Jones, who takes on the role of narrator, to tell the bizarre accompanying story of a giant, magical royal baby.
Across 12 tracks, soaring string arrangements, soft and sunny early morning nature and bird noises join electronic sounds and beats to wash over you like sedatives, taking you on a tripped-out journey that's best absorbed in one sitting.
At 41 minutes that's not a huge endeavour and while there aren't many tracks that work as stand-out singles, overall The King's Mouth succeeds in making you feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, waking up in a new and strange world and embarking on a great adventure.
The opening numbers, We Don't Know How and We Don't Know Why and The Sparrow provide a gentle intro, before the third track, Giant Baby, sees Jones deliver the gist of the album's tale: a queen dies in labour and her extraordinarily large newborn grows into a giant boy.
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The plot and soundtrack hit their stride after the halfway point, with the folk guitar and vocals of All For the Life of the City leading into the dark groove of Feedaloodum Beedle Dot, as our protagonist – now king – eats the universe in order to save his followers from an avalanche, a meal that costs him his own life.
His death is not in vain however, with his subjects cutting off his head and taking up residency inside his skull, where they gaze in awe of the galaxy that remains inside.
Like much of The Flaming Lips catalogue, not a lot makes sense but if you let go and roll with it, you're sure to enjoy the ride.
Artist: The Flaming Lips
Album: King's Mouth
Label: Warner Bros.
Verdict: A densely layered, strange and intricately detailed return to form.