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At War with the Mystics (Deluxe Version)

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iTunes Review

While not their most realized album – see 1999’s The Soft BulletinAt War With the Mystics is still a worthwhile trip into the wild blue sonic yonder. It’s less reliant on computers than their previous album, 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, but still jammed tight with aural tricks and hallucinations, whiplash edits and headphone-deserving surprises. Think of the songs less as standard compositions and more like carefully constructed amusement park rides where you’re bound to feel a little queasy from all the action. Acoustic ballads transform into space jams without warning and leader Wayne Coyne is likely to hijack the proceedings to indulge himself in his Prince-like falsetto and white man minimalist funk (“It Overtakes Me”) just when you expect he might be settling down. There’s a political undercurrent here (“Free Radicals”) but the true focus remains the Lips’ fascination with carnivalesque arrangements. “Vein of Stars” is a moody keyboard piece supported with distant shrieks of wah-wah’d guitar and ghostly background vocals. “Mr. Ambulance Driver” rolls forth with ‘70s-styled electric piano and sirens for authenticity. It’s worth the trip.

Customer Reviews

A recently discovered gem of the 70s?!

Wow. I've not experienced such excitement and genuine new music when listening to an album for the first time for decades. At times indulgently steeped in early 70s experimentation (check The Wizard and Pompeii...) at others out-popping the Scissor Sisters, this is an aural treat from start to finish. I'll be wearing my copy out before long.

Planetary pride

How glad I am to be alive at a time when an album like this can be recorded. Like most of the other reviewers, it didn't grab me at first, but then the Lips will never give us another 'Yoshimi.' 'Mystics' harks back to the albums that preceded it and, though it lacks singalong choruses (aside from 'The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song' which even my little daughter sings along to) it more than makes up for that with the scope and intensity of all its other elements. If it's arrangements you're after, this tops its predecessor, in my humble opinion. So give it a go, whether you're a Lips fan or not.

Tremendous value

Yep it's galling when the good people at iTunes seemingly can't get their act together. Witness the Springsteen/Seeger album configurations appearing and disappearing. Buy at the wrong time of day and no video for you. I blame modern technology and the baffling power of computers. This album is released in 12, 15 and finally the 16 track version (incidentally the version only available as a US pre-order, last track never available to download again, only in the initial bundle) The price sticking at £7.99 is annoying as well. Do what I did send them an e-mail pointing at the iniquity of this situation. After all if the choice of the three versions was there at the start then surely all customers would have gone for the 16 tracks? You may be suprised. Oh yeah, the music's good as well.


Formed: 1983 in Oklahoma City, OK

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Even within the eclectic world of alternative rock, few bands were so brave, so frequently brilliant, and so deliciously weird as the Flaming Lips. From their beginnings as Oklahoma weirdos to their mid-'90s pop culture breakthrough to their status as one of the most respected groups of the 21st century, the Lips rode one of the more surreal and haphazard career trajectories in pop music. An acid-bubblegum band with as much affinity for sweet melodies as blistering noise assaults, their off-kilter...
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