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At War With the Mystics

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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

Every Time You State Your Case

Who would have thought that the dudes who created the disturbingly catchy She Don't Use Jelly would still be around making music more than a decade later? But somehow The Flaming Lips have made a career out of weird psychedelic music even if Jelly remains their only true hit. But that's not to say there isn't another surprise hit hiding somewhere on their latest outing At War with the Mystics. Okay, who am I kidding, there is no hits hiding on this album, but to the Lips credit, that's not why they make music and of course just because there are no hits doesn't necessarily make something a bad album. Sonically, the album I exactly what you would expect from a Lips albums they inch closer and closer to the sound of early Pink Floyd when eccentric Syd Barrett was at the helm. They even throw in an instrumental, The Wizard Turns On, which could have made it on one of Floyd's album. But they extra noise isn't always welcome like on Mr. Ambulance Driver where the band utilizes a siren for most of the song which made me look out the window every couple seconds to make sure it wasn't real. But it's the lyrics where the band evolves the most as they morph into a socially conscience band. The set the tone with the opener, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song which asks rhetorical questions like, "If you could make everybody poor just so you could be rich, would you do it?" Then they follow those up with the cautionary, "It's a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want." They also take aim at our government during The W.A.N.D. where they equate the power of fanatical leaders to them waving a magical wand. But it's Haven't Got a Clue really lays the smackdown with the not so thinly veiled reference to President capped off with the lyrics, "Every time you state you case, the more I want to punch your face." Although I think I'd have my money on Bush in a throw down with Wayne Coyne. Superficial pop starts are also called out on Sound of Failure/It's Dark...Is it Always This Dark? specifically Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani. And Wayne's voice still remains the main problem with the group. With everything going on musically, his anemic voice tends to bring the songs down and is always the weak link. The only time he shines on this album is when he goes all Prince falsetto on Free Radical. But it's not enough to save the mediocre at best album.

It Overtakes Me!

The Flaming Lips are truly this decade's greatest band. At War With The Mystics is an excellent album from start, with the fantastic Yeah Yeah Yeah Song all the way to Goin' On, which is a heartfelt and emotional song. Standouts include "It Overtakes Me" with its steady build and awesome guitars, "Mr. Ambulance Driver", one of the most beautiful songs Wayne Coyne and co. have ever written,the afformentioned opener, "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song", with its wacky vocals but powerful meaning, and "The W.A.N.D", for its powerful lyrics, driving riff, and meaning. This is truly the BEST album of 2006 so far, and there's little probability another will top this feat. This album "shakes and bakes me", "master slaves me", and "overtakes me" all at once! THANK YOU, FLAMING LIPS!!! P.S. Check out the $12.00 one with three extra bonus tracks including yet another highlight, the Queen cover, "Bohemian Rhapsody". !!!

good sweet sounds

excellent album and a great continuation from yoshimi as well other albums. their sound is always refreshing and psychadelic and for some reason i always think of the beach boys, anyone else feel the same?

Biography

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 2000s, 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 sound,...
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