Deluxe re-issue on clear vinyl of the first full-length album by one of the most well loved and influential bands of the past 25 years. Following in the grand tradition of other great Southwestern psych bands such as 13th Floor Elevators and The Red Krayola, The Flaming Lips first act mixed punk, country & western, psychedelia, goth, and pure bar-band rock and roll into their own curious creation on classics such 'Jesus Shootin Heroin,' 'Trains, Brains, & Rain,' and 'Charlie Manson Blues. Sharing the weird, slanted pop sensibility of contemporaries like Meat Puppets and Butthole Surfers, this early masterpiece continues to influence bands to this day. Plain Recordings. 2005.
Hearing Hear It Is years later, after all the band had done up to the new century, makes for an almost surreal experience. No swirling orchestral parts, no Beach Boys-on-Mars homages, even Wayne Coyne's immediately recognizable cracked fracture of a voice isn't present. Instead, it's raunchy bar-band-gone-insane fun or calmer but not too wracked ruminations from Coyne, with music to match. It isn't as completely discontinuous as might be thought, though -- Coyne's vision was already distinctly gone, in ways that most bands would kill for. The gentle acoustic strumming that starts the album on "With You" or the steady pace and mournful singing on "Godzilla Flick" shows that subtlety was as much a part of the game as stomping, fried electric guitar insanity. Throughout Hear It Is, there's a gleeful "try what works" approach that would only become stronger later -- the band may have been punk-inspired and birthed, but Coyne and company drew on everything from country & western to classic rock crunch and more; there are even some clear early goth rock touches. If anybody was kin at the time, it would be the Meat Puppets, with perhaps a little less interest in high lonesome sounds. Texas psych types like the 13th Floor Elevators and the Red Krayola were clear forebears -- one can easily imagine Roky Erickson coming up with shaggy dog stories and music for the likes of "Trains, Brains and Rain." The group's own uniqueness comes through, though. Consider the blunt imagery of "Jesus Shootin' Heroin" or the clearly humorous yells and climax of "Charlie Manson Blues" as two examples of many. Initial CD versions of the album included the self-titled EP, while later pressings only added an enthusiastic fuzz-take of Eddie Cochran-via-Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues." ~ Ned Raggett, Rovi