Deap Lips – Deap Lips

Deap Vally take the lead on their collaboration with The Flaming Lips that smartly uses Wayne Coyne and co sparingly

Album Review by Joe Goggins | 11 Mar 2020
  • Deap Lips – Deap Lips
Album title: Deap Lips
Artist: Deap Lips
Label: Cooking Vinyl
Release date: 13 Mar

Collaborations of this variety usually add up to less than the sum of their parts but, even by that standard, The Flaming Lips can lay claim to one of the great howlers of recent years. In their defence, some superb Lips work has slipped under the radar of late – particularly 2013's monolithic The Terror and the gorgeously woozy Oczy Mlody four years later – but in between the two came With a Little Help from My Fwends, a nightmarish song-for-song cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that took an all-star cast of contributors and squandered it horribly. Approaching this hook-up with Deap Vally with some trepidation, then, would be entirely understandable, particularly given that unpromising opener Home Thru Hell drops a self-referential clanger in shoehorning the names of the two bands into the lyrics.

From that point on, it’s all uphill. Key to the successes on Deap Lips – and there’s a few of them – is that Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards have eschewed the bluesy garage rock that’s normally their calling card in favour of a sparser instrumental palette and harmonised vocals, with the Lips then left to sprinkle synth weirdness over the top. It works a treat on the thickly atmospheric Hope Hell High and in amongst the staccato weirdness of Love Is a Mind Control. Meanwhile, the points at which Deap Vally come close to out-and-out Chromatics-esque synth-pop – the moody one-two of The Pusher and Not a Natural Man, for instance – might even provide the roadmap for album number three.

Deap Lips works best when Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd are in the background, as messy closer There Is Know Right There Is Know Wrong proves, but the fact that they know when to keep themselves there suggests they’ve learned lessons from With a Little Help from My Fwends. An intriguing diversion.

Listen to: One Thousand Sisters With Aluminum Foil Calculators, Wandering Witches, The Pusher