Highly listenable, it’s an interesting take on prog-rock classics like “21st Century Schizoid Man,” adding the Lips’ patented fuzzy squawks and reverbed squeaks to songs only the geekiest of us know by heart.
That said, Ghosts is also a maddeningly frustrating disc for fans desperately wanting a return to the brilliant, pop-psych form of The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, where honest-to-goodness symphonies of emotion and meticulously crafted treaties of humanity beautifully — almost impossibly — merged into one cohesive, coherent, classic album.
With Ghosts, it’s becoming more obvious that Wayne Coyne and “fwends” (and by “fwends,” I mean four other bands that do most of the heavy lifting here) don’t seem interested in making traditional music as much as they just want to hit “record” and blast out noise-drenched sound collages with no point.
And that’s fine, I suppose. But it’s also important to realize that it’s quickly getting old and less adorably quirky.
Ghosts is not the metal-machine mess of Embryonic or Heady Fwends, but it still feels like tossed-off busy work — an overblown novelty from a band with too many fingers in too many pies, too many of which are not thoroughly baked.
I eagerly await their next full album, The Terror. We can’t give up hope just yet. And if the Lips have done one thing, it’s providing fans with hope. That’s why we keep coming back. —Louis Fowler