Let me start by saying that I am in love with the Flaming Lips, so this post is a bit biased. These crazy alt-rockers from Oklahoma have a special place in my heart. I have been anticipating the release of their newest album, At War With the Mystics, for some time now, as these guys have taken their sweet time. Their previous album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, was released back in 2002 is one of my favorite albums. Yoshimi had plenty of commercial success, while keeping the music quality.
At War With the Mystics seems to continue the Lips trend towards even more synths and beeps, while still continuing with the offbeat lyrics and generally happy tone. My three favorite tracks exemplify some of the directions that The Flaming Lips are heading towards. The first single, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, is upbeat and features amusing and adorable vocals. The “Yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah” and “no no no no, no no no no” breaks in song are the highlights of a well-rounded first single. The next two songs are a bit different than YYY Song. Mr. Ambulance Driver is a much more quiet and harmonious song, featuring emotional synth lines and powerful lyrics. This song is also featured in the Wedding Crashers soundtrack. The last song, The W.A.N.D. has been floating around the blogs for a while, and while some are touting it as the gem of the album, I do not agree. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy the song. I just don’t think that it is as strong as the other two I mentioned. The song features a dirty bassline and airy vocals, but just isn’t quite as good as Yeah Yeah Yeah Song or Mr. Ambulance Driver. This in no way means the song is bad, as it is probably better than 95% of the music being made today, it is just not The Flaming Lips finest. I still recommend you check the song out, however.
The album as a whole is pretty solid, and while I’m not in love with At War as much as I was with Yoshimi, it is a quality followup. It’s good to hear these guys again, and I welcome them back with open arms.