Album Reviews : ** The Flaming Lips, "Clouds Taste Metallic," Warner Bros.

The Lips' 10-year legacy is a kaleidoscopic jumble of lovely tunes and discordant sonic squalls bound together with a psychedelic weirdness that wobbles between lurid and whimsical, bittersweet and wacky. Despite having finally stumbled into chart success with "She Don't Use Jelly," the Oklahomans remain as delightfully bizarre as ever, and the quartet's eighth album is as unencumbered by normalcy as its first.

"They Punctured My Yolk" is an oddly touching tale of love in outer space; "(Taking Drugs On) Christmas at the Zoo" rocks through its Dr. Dolittle-esque holiday sentiment with all the hummable fervor of the Kinks' "Father Christmas"; "Brainville" is an acid-drenched region just beyond the pop haven the Monkees visited in "Last Train to Clarksville." Singer Wayne Coyne closes the album with some soothingly simple words of advice: "You have to sleep late when you can / And all your bad days will end."

And therein lies the key to the Lips' surreal appeal: the warm and fuzzy logic at the heart of the music.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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