Album reviews

23

A review of the album U.F.O.s at the Zoo by The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips U.F.O.s at the ZooReview Snapshot:
Although guilty speculations of animal cruelty creep sidelong into the back of your mind with this gig in an Oklahoma Zoo, it’s far too easy to ignore them. This is as good a recording of a gig as you’re likely to find, especially when energy and surprise are that gigs main assets; if nothing else, with this DVD The Flaming Lips again prove themselves masters of gimmickry and sheer entertainment.

The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10

Full Review: 
A zoo, a UFO light-rig, giant orange balloons, confetti launchers, armies of dancers in fancy dress, little laser lights and Wayne Coyne’s now infamous plastic bubble antics are the stuff that great gigs are made of, apparently: they appear at each Flaming Lips gig – including last November in Dublin – and every Flaming Lips gig is, without a doubt, a great gig. But their effect is somewhat lost when the energy and immediacy of these shows is removed, and what normally seems quirky and on the lovable Lewis Carroll/Dr. Seuss side of fantastic now smacks just a little of desperate. Still, a Flaming Lips gig is a Flaming Lips gig, and so fans, especially those who missed out on last years gig, will be glad to see this.

Wayne Coyne’s band – as, let’s face it, the others are quickly becoming minor parts to the Wayne Coyne/Flaming Lips experience – have yet to produce a recording that fails to capture their audience in some way, usually going for the heart straight through the imagination. With production that borders on perfect, it’s easy to wonder how a lot of their songs would translate into a live setting. However U.F.O.s at the Zoo proves how little the band really need to worry about it, for even when their performance is not perfect, that inimitable humour and light-heartedness carries each song through, from their early She Don’t Use Jelly, to Do You Realize??, to the now-infamous Yeah Yeah Yeah Song. You just wish it was easier to hate that chorus…
 
There are only two major flaws to be found in U.F.O.s at the Zoo, aside from the inevitable jealousy and unspecific animosity it evokes towards the lucky people who were there. The first is the disc itself – an MVI which stores audio, only for transferring to an MP3 player, and video which can be watched on any normal DVD player. Except that it can’t, so you’re left with a CD/DVD that can only be played on a computer. But that’s ok, because there’s enough computer-based bonus material to be found there in the form of free downloads etc to make the hassle of staring into your PCs small screen well worth it. The second problem is in the show itself: clips of the concert are interspersed with clips of fans queuing and talking about nothing very much interesting. In other words there’s a lot of material added that appears to be doing nothing much other than beefing up the time, material that would be much better suited to a bonus or making-of type disc.

Anna Murray

 To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.


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