For the last few years, we have seen a completely different attitude from The Flaming Lips towards their output. While the years succeeding their stunning and probably unmatchable 2002 LP 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots' was awash with suitable but not necessarily breathtaking releases, the band became more easygoing when it came to sharing new music, usually waiting years between each new dose. But returning once again with their third studio album in three years, we are now bang in the middle of their most prolific streak to date as they unveil their sixteenth studio effort 'American Head', a record that continues their winning ways so far.
There was clearly a huge pressure under the group in the 00s to create something as well received as 'Yoshimi' and as a result, their material always felt like a second best attempt to both fans and critics alike. But with those days now a distant memory, it feels like The Flaming Lips are not afraid to try new things and experiment with their direction, giving us one of their most confident LPs in a decade. With a focus squarely on the more atmospheric side to their sound, 'American Head' sets itself as a more easygoing but impactful collection that channels their psychedelic intentions through a lens of textured and euphoric intentions, all leading to a bright and uplifting listen throughout.
While it may be missing much of their bigger and more adventurous concepts, 'American Head' still makes for a wildly enjoyable and progressive studio album. With Wayne Coyne's distinct voice leading the band through this hazy maze of kaleidoscopic aesthetics, it reaches for heights we have rarely heard from them in recent years and shows that even after 34 years since their debut album, they are still coming up with fresh and exciting ideas.