Title: The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches doing Dark Side of the Moon
Artist: The Flaming Lips, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins, Peaches
Released: 4 May 2010
In one word: Freaky
What we have here my friends, aside from the ridiculously long name, is some of the craziest minds of contemporary music rubbing their collective heads together to create their interpretation of one of the craziest albums ever, with this cover version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. In it’s original guise, Dark Side is a classic album in the truest sense: Pink Floyd managed to take all their weird and wonderful elements like the taped speech fragments and Gimour’s effects-driven wailing guitar solos and turn it into something that became their grand opus, then to cap it all off they wrapped it in that iconic cover art. If NASA were to call me up and ask me which songs I think should be included in a time capsule to jettison into outer space then I think I’d have to pick one Pink Floyd song and I’d probably opt for “Time”, but in any case it’d be an original and not one of these incarnations.
This album sounds great on paper but not quite so great through my stereo. First impressions were extremely positive, it is a pretty fun tribute, but after a few repeat plays I became a bit apathetic about it. To be honest, I was less excited about the leading lights of The Flaming Lips and Dennis Coyne’s nephew’s band Stardeath and White Dwarfs, but very enthused to hear what might be served up by their co-star collaborators Peaches and Henry Rollins. Sadly, both the supporting acts have minor roles, and this is where some of my disappointment set in, with Peaches having a sole cameo moment as she lets loose some insane screams on “The Great Gig in the Sky”; and its all very animalistic, maybe even orgasmic, and yes, awesome. As for Rollins, it falls upon his broad shoulders to read the spoken dialogue, unembellished, and yeah, it’s pretty cool but its a pity Hank the Crank couldn’t have been used in a few more places – shouting at the Coyne’s with all his HULK SMASH rage for butchering “Money” might have been a good place to start. The Lips and S&WD’s version of “Money” sounds like what you might hear in a guitar store by someone determined to cause mass evacuation of the premises by playing every Electro-Harmonix pedal available at once. But hey, this kind of electro-buggery shouldn’t come as a surprise to any fans of The Flaming Lips.
Thankfully, “Money” is the one real low and everything else is at least tolerable (“Us And Them” is suitably indifferent and subtle), while “Speak To Me/Breathe” and “Time/Breathe (Reprise)” are both really cool versions where The Lips and S&WD flex their musical fingers with finesse and aplomb, with some badass bass, some joyful cymbal hiss and plenty of guitar grooves rich with wanton abandon. Speaking of grooves, “On The Run” has plenty, a fine piece of disco-prog. At the peak moments The Flaming Lips sound as good as they get, and the standard of these covers are on a par with the calibre of material on their own latest and greatest album Embyronic – an album which shares themes of mental illness and general freakiness with Dark Side.
A big selling point of this record is that it is quite likely that there are fans out there who share some affection for both The Lips and Floyd, and they will be the ones most enthused by this release as it does succeed in being something of a tribute rather than a piss-take. If you were lucky enough to pick up one of the limited edition green vinyl copies of this record that were released on Record Store Day then I envy you, but the rest of us mere mortals will have to make do with the CD and digital releases of the album which drop tomorrow (4 May 2010). TFLaSaWDwHRaPdTDSotM is a fun and suitably freaky take on a classic and shouldn’t be over-thought past that – just don’t be crestfallen if you were expecting more from Peaches and Rollins…I know I was.
Oh, for anyone out there curious about whether or not this version of Dark Side Of The Moon works in sync with the Wizard Of Oz film, I’m sorry to disappoint because at 41:00 in length this version is 1.59 minutes shorter than the original… so you’ll have to find another movie to sync this one to.
© Brian Banks, Music Vice