SOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-In aPriest Driven Ambulance (1990).
This is where the Lips really hit their stride. While they are still experimenting with sonic noises, the dedication to songcraft takes precedence. It’s as if they wrote cool songs first and then fiddled with them, rather than using the fiddling as the main focus. The album is divided into two sides: Smile Side and Brain Side. Amusingly all songs are listed as being 3:26 long, and yet none of them actually are.
“Shine on Sweet Jesus” is catchy as hell and also features some of the interesting effects that Wayne & co would really play with later (multi layered deep voices, etc).”Unconsciously Screaming” is another simply great thrashy song.
“Rainin’ Babies” seems like it would be a pretty harsh song and yet it isn’t. Its got a catchy chorus (“this is my present to the world”) and is one of many highlights on the disc. “Five Stop Mother Superior Rain” has pretty weird lyrics over a nice acoustic bit. It sounds so innocent and yet it starts: “I was born on the day they shot JFK”. It slowly builds to a singalong chorus of “You’re fucked if you do and fucked if you don’t. Five star mother superior rain.” Whatever that means.
Brain Side doesn’t start out too auspiciously with the rather meandering “Stand in Line.” But it is quickly redeemed with the epic “God Walks Among Us Now.” It’s squeals and squalling and distortion and it’s catchy as all get out, and it contains the wonderful chorus: “Used to be alright then things got strange.” “There You Are (Jesus Song No. 7)” is a more delicate ballad. (It’s surprising how much acoustic work there is on the disc).
“Mountain Side” returns us to the rocking noise. It’s another simple, catchy song with enough distortion to keep it interesting. “What a Wonderful World” is a cover of the classic song. It seems so much like a parody, and yet knowing Wayne’s later lyrical work I’d suggest it isn’t. It’s done genuinely, despite themselves, and you never get a sense that they’re snickering at all.
The two bonus songs are okay, but they tend to ruin the rather nice ending of the disc. (But such is the problem with bonus tracks).
[READ: January 17, 2008] Lady into Fox
In the first few pages of this book, as the title implies, a Gentleman’s wife turns into a fox. The fact that Garnett was able to write 78 pages about this and keep it interesting is pretty remarkable.
Basically, when Mr Tebrick’s wife turns into a fox–more or less before his eyes–he decides that he will bring her home in hopes that this will just wear off. The story turns into something of a fairy tale, with Mrs Tebrick wearing a house coat and playing cards (although she cannot talk) and with them trying to lead a normal life. (more…)