Sunday, December 14, 2008

Flaming Lips - Christmas On Mars

(Warner Bros., 2004)

Don’t get too excited. First the Flaming Lips released “Syrtis Major” on one of the U.K. “Do You Realize” singles. Then they paired it with “Protonilus Death March” on a 7” picture disc and sold it as part of an expensive photo-book package through their website. Then they divorced the vinyl from the book and sold the standalone single as a web-only exclusive. Then they renamed both songs (“Space Bible With Volume Lumps” and “The Gleaming Armament of Marching Genitilia,” respectively) and hawked ’em to the public via the Christmas On Mars soundtrack. So pardon me for my muted enthusiasm as I dust this fugger off.

And yet… the music’s not terrible.

Whereas the softball instrumentals on The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots evoked intergalactic grocery shopping above all else, these two brief songs have a dramatic edginess that does anything but soothe. The mix of chilly, futuristic electronics and more “classical” soundtrack elements create an unsettling, unearthly atmosphere that works well on disc and even better on film when paired with the visuals for which the music was composed. So ultimately, the low-budget, sci-fi psych-out Christmas On Mars DVD is a safe recommendation, the various repackagings of its score significantly less so. Particularly this 7”; avoid chumpdom and don’t bother to lose any sleep or cash over it.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

Oh, yeah, forgot they've got a DVD out too. How "hi concept" of them.

"Intergalactic grocery-shopping"??

But then, yeah, maybe it's the Ray Bradbury-ness of the Lips that was their main attraction...

but maybe you need to get off your jaded ass and get some of those early Lips' singles, so you can stop kvetching about their uncertain entry into "the Big Time."