Sunday, 21 December 2014

Hatin' on the lips, lovin' the chain

Finding a Goldie Looking Chain album that I hadn't heard took the edge off a bit,  but I could spend the entire festive period spewing vitriol about The Flaming Lips. It's probably because I pretended to like them in the early twenty-first century -  a last ditch attempt at keeping up with musical fashion, I suppose - but stumbling on their full album 're-make' of Dark Side of the Moon was like discovering a handy guide to everything wrong with Wayne Coyne and his cock-rock roadshow.

Of course, it's a little unfair: by the sound of it, The Flips probably recorded this in an afternoon as a gift for their fans. Yet it captures so perfectly the 'will this do' psychedelia that has them pretending to be some kind of experimental revival, and the choice of guest stars takes both Peaches and Henry Rollins off any artistic roll-call that hadn't already dumped them.

In short, Coyne and Company lurch through the Pink Floyd album as if they had heard it once, listened to that reggae version, put it on again and played over the top. There are rare moments when they try to do something new, but these add up to singing Money through a vocoder or getting Rollins, at his thuggish worse, to say things that might sound a bit like the various 'found' comments that litter the source album. Peaches is at her most irrelevant (remember when her early albums cut at the patriarchal hegemony of rock through parody? Nor does she) when she screams over The Great Gig in the Sky, and the last half consists of chugging jam takes on Floyd's well-worn routines.

The Chain, meanwhile, have another album that shows love for their influences and mocks the culture that adopts US hip-hop to lend empty lives a false glamour. Here they attempt to list their gangster activities (going shopping with their nan rates highly), get into nightclubs in tracksuits ('it's all designer'), hymn their local express store ('porno mags to give you an erection/spotted dick in the frozen section ) and ponder the spiritual teachings of Biggie Smalls. If Wayne Coyne harks back to a time before The Ramones made a point of being stupid - given Coyne's constant attempts to make a point with his music, it's fair to say that he thinks his music is smart - GLC show how knowing ignorance trumps pretension. 

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