Flaming Lips : Edinburgh Queen’s Hall

A band in love with the very sad-happy crux of existence

Let’s get metaphysical: songs about gravity were never built to set rocks on fire, but when they’re played by three middle-aged men in rabbit suits, there is no place for the curmudgeon.

2002 finds [a]Flaming Lips[/a]

standing on the shoulder of a giant; 2000’s ‘The Soft Bulletin’ album (being the sound of God mid-orgasm, roughly) seemed insurmountable. Yet follow-up ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ – a concept album about death – finds the grey-dappled US trio suffused with a persuasive, child-eyed optimism, their sense of humanity piercing art-rock’s agnostic soul. ‘Fight Test’ is- Travis’ ‘Driftwood’ beamed through a stained-glass window, while ‘In The Morning Of The Magicians’ is aglow with the delicate swell of bruised hearts and a noise that sounds like the Yellow Brick Road blowing itself up.

“You may despise this song”, says singer Wayne Coyne, beard glowing under the rainbow lights, “but please, just listen”. They play Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, peeling off its hi-NRG hotpants to reveal a heartrending funeral lament. It’s like watching Mozart frug to 5ive in doublet and hose. And it is tremendous.

Nonsense-pop classic ’She Don’t Use Jelly’ follows, bopping in its own bubblegum-flavoured aspic and a climactic ‘Waitin’ For A Superman’ shrugs off its Nietzschian shawl and drifts towards the stratosphere in a balloon of symphonic marvellousness. A band in love with the very sad-happy crux of existence, these new-model [a][/a]

are on fire. Let them light yours.

Sarah Dempster