The Flaming Lips
At War With The Mystics


4.0
excellent

Review

by robin EMERITUS
September 11th, 2010 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


If you want to pour your music down the drain, there’s nothing like politics to do the trick. I say nothing, because I don’t think anyone wants to write songs about politics anymore; if they do it’s ambiguous, subtle, without risks. I guess that’s because musicians aren’t supposed to be preachers. And there’s a case against At War With The Mystics for being preachy without the honesty to back it up, but you know what? When Wayne Coyne plays shows, he rambles about love and brotherhood until his giant hands are blistered and his pals in gorilla suits could faint from dehydration. And his point isn’t just some ‘simple bull***’ about how we should all love each other, it’s a non-exhaustive statement that we can all relate to: his birthday-bash crowds are so big they’re communal, and yes, they can make a difference destructing hate in its many forms, be it racism, violence, or most significantly, war.

I think At War With The Mystics makes a case for the simple statement, even if other musicians couldn’t have the same said of them- Wayne Coyne has a simple response to all the simple politicians who argue for the worse; for a guy living in the UK, songs like “Free Radicals” and “Haven’t Got a Clue” are affirming because they’re simple. They could be open letters to the BNP. They’re not Coyne’s anti-politics songs, they’re Coyne’s aggressive hate-your-hate songs. They’re put out for a universal audience and they inject everyday reality into the Lip’s ever-growing world of spacey sci-fi and fantasy, and layer upon layer doesn’t harm them; the songs are more booming and exploratory than ever, and the messages behind them are well suited. It’s not so much a pompous political album than it is a straightforward social one, in this sense of being larger-than-life. I think the hope bubbling in the little-man’s “My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion” translates best: “Don’t you believe them / they’ll destroy you with their lies / they only see the obvious, they see the sun go down, but they don’t see it rise.”

At War With The Mystics is generous with melody too, a huge sounding record drenched in the distortion of guitars and drums, dusky ambience and bonfire flute fables. The band’s freak-outs are off-putting for fans of their chilled moments on Yoshimi or Soft Bulletin, and more so for diehards who think it cheapening to hear this after hearing Hit to Death or Clouds Tate Metallic. But it’s the best of both worlds. “The Sound of Failure” rocks out with free-flowing guitar riffs but retains its eerie atmosphere, “Haven’t Got a Clue” is punchy but transcendent, and “Pompeii Am Gotterdamerung” is everything Lips; the self-aware silliness, the noise for the sake of itself, and the wacky storyline about two lovers throwing themselves into a volcano. At War With The Mystics blends what hippie love is left in Wayne Coyne with sweeping epics (“Pompeii” sounds dangerously Western) and explodes as a result. Granted it closes with a song that was never put beyond its keyboard trial, but “Goin’ On” still has the spirit of the album, with Wayne Coyne’s vocals pining for an anthem, pushing through more charming commands; “Listen, you’ll hear it.

I can’t help but feel all Wayne Coyne wanted to say in 2007 was that he wouldn’t wish war on anyone. I guess it just depends on whether you trust a guy who runs around in a plastic ball.



Recent reviews by this author
The Mountain Goats Get LonelyThe Smith Street Band Throw Me in the River
Sharon Van Etten Are We ThereHis Hero Is Gone Fifteen Counts of Arson
Superchunk I Hate MusicThe Weakerthans Reconstruction Site
user ratings (542)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Josh Gimblett (2.5)
...

Old Uncle Al (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
porch
September 11th 2010


8460 Comments


The problem with this is that there's way too many stupid sound effects and goofy bullshit

Sound of Failure, Cosmic Autumn Rebellion and Pompeii are great though

Ire
September 11th 2010


41828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review and great band.

DoubtGin
September 11th 2010


6754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mr. Ambulance Driver is my favourite song from this

gloriouslyinept
September 11th 2010


15 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

probably a good review, but i don't like this album at all. def my least favorite FL record.

AggravatedYeti
September 11th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The problem with this is that there's way too many stupid sound effects and goofy bullshit

this^
but the review itself is classy as fuck.
expected no less.



thebhoy
Emeritus
September 11th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah like Yeah Yeah Yeah song is super catchy and then WTF WERE YOU THINKING WITH THE CONSTANT YEAHING?

Also, Embryonic sucks, peace.

Kiran
Emeritus
September 12th 2010


6002 Comments


i like this band but i'm not sure i want to hear this

AggravatedYeti
September 12th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

its worth it if you enjoy being slightly disappointed.

robin
Emeritus
September 12th 2010


4261 Comments


or if you like not listening to dylan which tbh yeah

CelestialDust
September 12th 2010


3157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I trust a guy who runs around in a plastic ball : D

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2010


10583 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is far better than embryonic

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

CelestialDust
September 12th 2010


3157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

noooooooooooooo you are mistaken

AggravatedYeti
September 12th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

embryonic is such a good album wtf?

Ire
December 27th 2012


41828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holy shit changed my mind on this rules best band smd


embryonic is still way way better tho

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
November 3rd 2013


13453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cant get into

skeames1214
December 16th 2013


2713 Comments


it's just you and me, and maybe that's just as well

dimsim3478
June 9th 2014


5410 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

holy shit i only just realized The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song is by these guys

Digging: Full Of Hell and Merzbow - Full Of Hell & Merzbow

danielito19
October 28th 2014


6711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's a shame the production on this is so brickwalled

BMDrummer
October 28th 2014


9940 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

one of their weakest, but still damn good for the most part

AmericanFlagAsh
October 28th 2014


1380 Comments


The W.A.N.D. is my jam

Digging: Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy