Little pleasures in life: Smelling the daisies. Skipping through fields. Buying a cd from one of my favorite bands the day it comes out.
So. What can you tell from reading that little opening? Do you think that I have social issues and resort to nature to help cheer me up? Probably. But you probably now know that when I like a band, I'm usually a fanatic. Such is the case with The Flaming Lips. Though they've been around since 1982, The Flaming Lips are still going strong and are making, in my opinion, their best music yet. The example? They're new album, At War with the Mystics. I bought this for a good $12. Usually, new releases are upwards of $18. Hell, American Idiot is still raking in $20 and album. So, I looked at my $10 bill and $5 bill with glee; it was either this or the new Vines. I chose this, seeing as I'm more of a fan. The result? Screw the Vines. This is where it's at.
The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics (2006)
Brilliance can come in all shapes and sizes, and The Flaming Lips throws it at you in small doses. Though it doesn't start out that promising (the opener, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
, is less than a great song), there are some of The Flaming Lips best on here. Such gems as Vein of Stars
, a ballad-istic song with a twist of Flaming Lips in the mix. A song with a piano-laced chorus, and some great strings, and some great vocal performance, definitley one of the best from the album. But the pronounced part of the song is the space-age riff that occupies the last half of the song, with a frankly impressive vocal performance. It comes with a bang, and gradually fades away into a quiet, solemn piece that really showcases the best of the Flaming Lips talent.
Along the lines of these kinds of songs are it's predecessor, My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion
, which is the kind of song as you enter an oasis; odd as it sounds, this is what describes the song. A quiet piano, and an almost un-Flaming-esque vocals, which carry the song into another quiet section, but adding more instruments and an instrumental chorus, complete with a lead riff that can only force you to relax or bite your head off. Your choice, as this song is sort of a philosophy thing; it depends on how you look at it. Nevertheless, this song is definitley a highlight. Another impacting song on the album is the closer, Goin' On
, which falls in at a rather dissapointing 3:39, as it could've been alot longer. Oh, well, let's not dwell on the past. This song, though one of the shortest on the cd, is a great listen. It's another piano ballad, but more passionate in a, well, Journey kind of way. Let me explain. This song is very good. It has a great piano riff, great vocals and a commanding lead riff, but there is a rather chessy, eighties ballad feel to the song. It has the whole vocal element, very passionate but really doesn't quite make it to the point of being very effective or even a positive element of the song, and the piano chords sound alot like those dreaded Anthem-Rock ballads in the eighties, but The Flaming Lips manage to put a good twist on it.
There are a few fantastic tracks on here as well. The definite highlights are the second last song, Pompeii am Gotterdammerung
which is another spacey song, complete with chruch organs, which gradually goes into an almost progressive song. Needless to say, it's a great maneuver by the Lips, as they fit it perfectly. The song itself features great musical performance, but most notably the guitar and keyboard working together in the little interlude, which leads into a better verse with crunched guitar and a furious riff just under of the vocals, which are another great asset to the song. Very moaning like, but agile, and only add to the progressive feel of the song. Another purely classic Lips song is Mr. Ambulance Driver
, which again showcases a more Sensetive Lips. Soft rhythms and a lack of effects make this song purely enjoyable. The vocals are the perfect compliment to the song, which features a catchy lead riff and displays the variety of the Flaming Lips music. It's definitley the best song on the album, at least I think, as it has the most musical purity. At the most, you can say that they can throw out a ballad and turn it into a sharp, brilliant slow rock song. The lyrics don't really make that much sense, but they're great regardless. Besides, it's the Flaming Lips, not the most lyrical of bands.
The Flaming Lips are also known for their odd songs, as all of their albums have those odd bunch of songs, seeming as though they tried to make them filler. There are few on this album, though they're there definitley. One of the better ones is Haven't Got a Clue
, which features a more mature Flaming Lips, if you will, as it sports synthesizers and a full bass, guitar and drum combo, all with their own little effects. The feeling of this song is very futuristic, and if you want to see the inspiration for this song, I suggest you look at the album cover. The album cover really showcases the futuristic sounding, more mature Flaming Lips. More mature, that is, until almost through the song, they erupt into a mouthed guitar riff that can be qualified as annoying. But after a little break from that, you get back into the song, while though really a short time remains, is very good on it's own. Another song that is notable, but not as good as some others is The W.A.N.D. (The Will Alway Negates Defeat)
, which sounds like a trip to the eighties era Flaming Lips, though with a modern twist. It features a crunched guitar playing a joyful riff, tucked under a great vocal performance, sporting the first official profanity on the album. Also, if you notice them, the drums are very rewarding to listen to. As phased instruments lead into a little solo, which ends the song on a rather abrupt and rushed note.
Overall: Get this album. And since it's been a good four years since they're last release, it's worth $10 to a good $30. Though not flawless, this album really captures all of the genres that the mysterious Flaming Lips have taken over the years, and balances it out to be an epic dose of old and new. While they're last albums were full of fury towards, mainly, George Bush, this album has been described as the Flaming Lips' social acceptance album. So. Should you buy? Yes.
Thanks for reading,