Made up of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards of garage pop duo Deap Vally and Flaming Lips members Steven Drodz and Wayne Coyne, Deap Lips is a collaboration that stretches outside of its contributors' expected roles. While the experimental pop of the Flaming Lips might lead listeners to expect the unexpected, each of the ten songs on Deap Lips' eponymous debut goes somewhere different. Perhaps the most predictable moment of the album is first song "Home Thru Hell," a dusty rocker that finds Troy's throaty vocals weaving a tale of a turbulent motorcycle trip. The colorful and slightly psychedelic song is made up of electronic drums and lonely guitars capsized by vocodored vocals, huge fuzzy riffs, synths, and sound effects of vultures and revving engines. It's the closest thing to a mid-point for Deap Vally's big-beat blues rock and the Flaming Lips' demented pop, and it would make sense if the rest of the album sounded similar. Instead, the tune melts into the next track, "One Thousand Sisters with Aluminum Foil Calculators," a spacy and mellow instrumental heavy on synth. Deap Lips weave through dreamy acoustic pop on "Hope Hell High," simple-minded party chanting on "Motherf*ckers Got to Go," spare electronic danciness on "Not a Natural Man," and seven minutes of high-drama orchestration on the Ennio Morricone-meets-Black Keys slow burner "Love Is Mind Control." When zoomed in on, parts of the Deap Lips concept feel like surreal inside jokes. The words "Blam" and "Motherfucker" are repeated constantly throughout the album, and there's even a lyric in the opening tune that includes a sideways reference to the Flaming Lips. The production is huge and vivid and the best songs are solidly written. More than all this, the most exciting part of Deap Lips is the strange journey it takes the listener on. The stylistic jump cuts and quickly shifting instrumentation make the album perfect for repeat listens, revealing some new weird detail each time it's revisited. While Deap Lips lose some of the raw immediacy of Deap Vally and don't ascend to the songwriting heights of Flaming Lips, they create a mood of their own that pulls only a little from each group. Required listening for anyone already invested in either band and a wild, enjoyable listen for even the uninitiated.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas