Originally Posted by Severian
I gotta give it up to "With a Little Help Form my Friends" too. That call and response, gentle little ditty to ROBOT NOISE FEEDBACK SQUAWK is pretty fucking awesome.
But imagine what they could have done with "A Day in the Life" if it was Soft Bulletin-era Lips! Or even Yoshimi! That would have been perfect, and right up the Lips' alley.
I've always felt like the Lips are kind of like a Beatlesque presence in indie rock, more than just about any other band. Sonic Youth are the essential 4-piece of indie rock, but they're so out there that they're not really comparable to anyone other than the VU.
Guided by Voices sound a lot like Revolver and Rubber Soul-era Beatles. But they've always sounded like that (blasted through a $10 PA), and they've never really had a creative transformation.
The Pixies might be the most common choice for Beatles of Indie Rock, but they're not. They never had the full band, everyone plays an equally important role kind of vibe... neither did GBV.
And honestly, neither do the Lips. They're an oligarchy. Coyne is a dictator, Drozd is such a brilliant musician that Wayne can't live without him, so he's become a permanent fixture. Ivins has been around for a while. So the core trio is almost completely different from the original 1983/4 line-up.
BUT... in terms of sonic tendencies, reinvention, experimentation, and sound, they're quite Beatlesque. And since Embryonic (which must have been their White Album) they've been on this frantic, bipolar experimental music kick, and they only broke from it to release the Terror (which is like their Let It Be... their super depressing late career whine fest, fueled by impending doom in the Beatles' case, and probably some art-school whim of Wayne's in the Lips' case).
But Priest Driven Ambulance was so fucking new and fresh, they finally found their identity and set themselves apart from all the bands they were trying to be early on (Butthole Surfers, SY, J&MC) and that was like their first album as a real, serious band. Since then their career trajectory has been like an Alterna-rock version of the Beatles' career.
Soft Bulletin may have been their Revolver, but it may have also been their Rubber Soul, or even their Sgt. Pepper... So might Yoshimi, though Yoshimi fits the Sgt. Pepper archetype a bit better... making At War With the Mystics their kinda so-so Magical Mystery Tour, and then we've covered Embryonic and shit.
They clearly adore the Beatles, and they could have made a majestic and beautiful cover album. Instead they missed a lot of opportunities for greatness, and I'll bet they regret it in the end. They can make a hell of a cover when they try. Their "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the best cover I've ever heard of that song, and it's reverent and respectful to the original.
Fucking shit mang.