The Flaming Lips have long walked a line between shock’n’awe spectacle and spectacular, aw-shucks emotion. The Oklahoma City psych-rockers’ newly released video for “Ashes in the Air” (via Pitchfork), their ambivalently “fucked up” freak-out with Bon Iver from last year’s guest-stuffed And Heady Fwends release, involves an all-seeing spaceman, Justin Vernon’s beardo-baby doppelganger, and glittery, blood-spattered, nude mourning. It’s going to take more views to decide whether this is “fucked up in the good way” or “fucked up in the bad,” per the song’s portentously intoned lyrics.
This bizarre set of visuals comes ahead of the Lips’ upcoming album The Terror, due out April 16 on Warner Bros., and after frontman Wayne Coyne has been selling cell phones and, during the Super Bowl, even Hyundais. “We don’t want the audience to just go, ‘Wow, that was crazy!'” Coyne told me in an interview published earlier this year. “We want them to feel things emotionally. That’s definitely more rewarding than just a bunch of bang bang bang, but the bang bang bang gets people’s attention.”