While Norman, Okla.'s favorite psychedelic sons The Flaming Lips remain artfully steadfast in their noncommercial pose, "The Soft Bulletin" is as lush and beautiful as any rock record released this year. Using an imposing amount of fancy production techniques, regal orchestrations, modern electronica and freaky-deaky instrumentation, the Lips' latest is a strangely peaceful collection of music.
Certainly, Wayne Coyne is an unusually distinctive singer. His high-pitched warble -- delivered through surrealistic wordplay -- helps to make the Lips an easily identifiable sonic commodity. The band's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink aesthetic and hippie-drippy sonic references only enhance the dreamlike quality of this fine recording. Tracks like "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" quickly get under your skin and lay their psychic eggs in the righteous region of your left brain. Still, The Flaming Lips are just another unconventional rock band with a very original sound. While we might convince ourselves that the band represents the second coming of modern psychedelia, one still has to enjoy their off-kilter poptopia or just move on to the next episode.