Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics Album Review

Flaming Lips At War With The Mystics Album

Review of At War With The Mystics Album by Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

At War With The Mystics

Warner Bros

Album Review

The release of a new Flaming Lips album is A Very Big Event in the world of adult alternative music. As one of the bands that has broken through with its mostly-accessible brand of left-field oddness and hooks that go back to Pink Floyd via lovely pop like Bread, their first, The Soft Bulletin is one of those iconic albums, while Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots became a bit of a global phenomenon.

First question: is it as good as Yoshimi? Yes it is. Second (more hushed) question: is it as good as The Soft Bulletin? Well, like Charlie with his first chocolate bar, there is pretty good reason to feel excited, but in the end, not quite. The album takes a dip in the middle, after an awesome opening threesome, but finishes strong. It is easy to imagine that this is where the Beach Boys Pet Sounds may have ended up 30 years on had Brian Wilson's muse held - all full of beauty, melody, weirdness and just great alternative pop music.

Mike Rea

Adult Contemporary Essentials

Rating: 8/10

Rating guide:

9-19 Essential purchase

7-8 Good, definite buy if you've liked this artist in the past

5-6 OK only, don't say I didn't warn you

3-4 Poor, even for this artist

1-2 Awful

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The Flaming Lips

At War with the Mystics

Warner Bros Records

03/04/2006

Album Review

Remember when poor Jack White broke his finger and left Festival organisers in a bigger quandary than the manager-less and directionless Newcastle United F.C.? Their saving grace at T in the Park was Wayne Coyne and his mystically exuberant outfit The Flaming Lips, who performed The White Stripes covers with gusto and compact aplomb. Well, this experience has obviously had an impact on them, as the theme of volume and intensity rushes some of the dozen tracks on this parade. The sensational surreal vein delivered via 'Free Radicals' was borne out of a dream Wayne had, whereby, Devandra Banhart is pleading with a suicide bomber to change his mind. It is a good job that James Blunt wasn't the object of this dream, as it would have turned into a nightmare in so many ways.

Coyne's once soft and soothing vocals have been sandpapered over to produce a glam rock kick to accompany the whining and sliding guitars featuring in offerings like 'The Wizard Turns On'. A noticeable aspect of the band's growth leaps out in their atmospheric leanings that rivals Sonic Youth, coming through via 'The Cosmic Autumn Rebellion' and 'Vein Of Stars'. Of course, cosmic imagery illuminates this Flaming Lips night sky, but you just get the feeling that there is not the same cohesion that gripped previous releases like 'Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots'. However, this slight disjointedness could well be what they intended and without a doubt, The Lips continue to make their unique mark on music.

David Adair

Rating: 8.5/10

Rating guide:

9-19 Essential purchase

7-8 Good, definite buy if you've liked this artist in the past

5-6 OK only, don't say I didn't warn you

3-4 Poor, even for this artist

1-2 Awful


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