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The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics


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The Flaming Lips

At War With The Mystics

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April 4, 2006

Warner Brothers

1 The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song

2 Free Radicals

3 The Sound of Failure

4 My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion

5 Vein of Stars

6 The Wizard Turns On...

7 It Overtakes Me

8 Mr. Ambulance Driver

9 Haven't Got a Clue

10 The W.A.N.D.

11 Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung

12 Goin' On

The Flaming Lips' 2006 release, "At War With The Mystics," is another one of the Flaming Lips' symphonic-folk-pop albums (others include "The Soft Bulletin" and "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"). Even though the Flaming Lips have already made albums similar to this one, it still sounds incredibly unique. "At War With The Mystics" combines prog, folk, sunshiney pop of the 70's, electronica, the sound of Pink Floyd, cheesy vocal harmonies reminiscent of Earth Wind and Fire, a little bit of disco, alternative, and psychedelia, among other things. All this adds up to create a terrifically bittersweet album that has a great beginning of summer vibe to it.

In "At War With The Mystics," The Flaming Lips remind me a lot of Pink Floyd. Not just because songs like "The Wizard Turns On..." and "Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung" sound like they could have been part of "Wish You Were Here" or "Animals," but also because of the way they can make pop music deeper. Pink Floyd combined musical brilliance with singalong pop appeal. In "At War With The Mystics", the Flaming Lips combine lush and complex musical textures with a catchiness that gets the album stuck in your head.

On the surface, "At War With The Mystics" may seem to be all about the catchy songs. Songs that immediately stick out upon first listen are "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," "Free Radicals," and "The W.A.N.D." The songs that just make you feel good. However, the heart of this album lies in the ballads, such as "Vein of Stars," "Mr. Ambulance Driver" and my personal favorite, "Goin' On." These beautiful songs will make you feel like a senior on the last day of high school...happy because it's summertime, sad because you'll miss a lot of your friends. This bittersweet balance is not often found in modern pop music.

Another group of songs that must be mentioned are the mini-epics. Songs like "Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung" take the listener on a real sonic adventure. Another one of these epics is my favorite song on the album, and the one I think best encompasses the album. The song is "It Overtakes Me." While it begins sounding like one of the more superficial pop songs of the album, it soon turns into an epic, complete with disco, prog, and folk.

"At War With The Mystics" is an incredibly consistent album. All the songs are good, and there are only a few that aren't great, in my opinion. At the moment I'm liking it even more than "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." I give it an A+. Kudos to the Flaming Lips, who have shown us that musical quality does belong in pop.

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