The Flaming Lips, "Embryonic"

82 Billboard Rating

For some longtime Lips fans, the band's 12th studio album, "Embryonic," will be hailed as a welcome return to the experimental, psychedelic form of its early years. But the group's newer fans who only know the Lips' recent pop-infused tunes and obtuse but harmless lyrics may be surprised by the new album's return to atonal Krautrock jams, buried vocals and a notable lack of memorable melodies. The act should be credited for not hewing to the tried-and-true formula it pretty much invented with previous releases ("The Soft Bulletin," "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," "At War With the Mystics"), but many of the double-disc's 18 tracks feel like they are embryonic rather than fully formed. The exceptions include "Convinced of the Hex" and the closer "Watching the Planets," which should fit nicely into the band's always-entertaining live show.-David J. Prince

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