The Flaming Lips: Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins, Steven Drozd, Ronald Jones. CLOUDS TASTE METALLIC is the seventh Flaming Lips record, and it is a far looser and more relaxed affair than anything that preceded it. The weirdness flows out of head-Lip Wayne Coyne's head as it always has done, but this is a record by a band that no longer has anything to prove--not to themselves, their record label, nor their fans. With sparser instrumentation than before, Coyne's voice is both more intelligible and closer to the front of the mix, and the effects, though still present, are more restrained. Standouts on this record include the countrified slide guitar on "Placebo Headwound"; the genuinely sweet "This Here Giraffe," which comes complete with flutes and a xylophone and sounds like the theme to a particularly strange television show; "They Punctured My Yolk," which sounds bizarrely like a freaked-out version of "Seasons in the Sun"; and the supremely laid-back "Evil Will Prevail," with its gloriously swelling final verse. CLOUDS TASTE METALLIC is a nice record in the best sense of the word, and a good place to begin investigating the Lips.