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Flaming Lips: With A Little Help From My Fwends

Track-for-track remake of The Beatles’ landmark album.

The Lips have been here before, having issued album-length renditions of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon and King Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King.

This time, they go for Sgt Pepper’s. It’s more homage than sacrilege, even when the Lips and their heady “fwends” (everyone from My Morning Jacket and MGMT to Miley Cyrus) warp the originals almost beyond recognition. If you like the Lips’ brand of cosmic American music, all intense treble and sonic bombardment, then you’ll love what they’ve done here. If you find them OTT, you’ll loathe every needless embellishment. With A Little Help From My Friends is treated to all manner of atonal freakery. Getting Better sounds like The Beatles fighting their way through an electric storm, sung by a snide Starbucks employee. Fixing A Hole could be Pink Floyd in 1967. Good Morning Good Morning is a mental assault, and the reprise of the title track is a mad, psychedelic adventure. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is the centrepiece, and showcases the Lips’ ambition, and the extent of their desire to provoke, via the psychedelicising of Miley. File under brave – or stupid, depending on your taste.

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.