At War With The Mystics review by The Flaming Lips

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Apr 4, 2006
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (32 votes)
The Flaming Lips: At War With The Mystics

Sound — 9
There's one thing you're guaranteed when you buy the latest Flaming Lips' record, "At War With The Mystics." You'll get so many styles of music from track to track that you'll swear you could have been listening to a different band for each one. But that's exactly why The Flaming Lips have deserved to endure for over 20 years -- the band just does not get dull. With the oddly intriguing vocals and guitar work of Wayne Coyne, backed by Michael Ivins on bass and piano, and Steven Drozd on drums, guitars, keyboards and the instrument goes on and on, Oklahoma City's The Flaming Lips offer listeners plenty of ear candy on its latest release "At War With The Mystics." At the top of the tops are The Wizard Turns and Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung, two seductive little tunes that gives an homage of sorts to the polished, dreamy style Pink Floyd made its own. With The Wizard Turns On, an instrumental dusted with a driving wah line, and Pompeii, supplied with minimal singing, both stand by accentuating the best features of the band. Every member displays a keen virtuosity over their respective instrument, as well as the ability to arrange an advanced, yet still melodic, composition. The opening track The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song already made a mark at number 16 on the UK Singles chart, but this song is not anywhere near the best that the new CD has to offer. Starting out with a Rusted-Root-type vibe, the overlying melody song never goes anywhere that unique. That's not to say the band does not enhance the song with unexpected tools like a talkbox, but even putting the Frampton touch on it can't really release the melody from its limitations. Quite unexpectedly, At War With the Mystics suddenly offers a Prince-like song that is quite possibly the best song on the CD. With its grooving base line and the guitar teasing with its minimal, yet satisfying continuous riff, the song goes in a completely different direction than every other track on the album. Coyne's falsetto deliver completes the package, and marks a refreshing chance from his usual singing tone.

Lyrics — 7
The Flaming Lips project messages in a simple, concise when it comes to their lyrics on the new CD. Unfortunately, this straightforward lyrical style can either help or hinder, depending on the song. In a song like The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, the repetitive lyrics can be a benefit in the fact that it's the first track on the CD and listeners can immediately remember the tune. However, with the underlying melody having the same type of repetitive aspect as the lyrics do, it can be a bit mundane. In contrast, the reflective and moody song The Sound Of Failure mirrors the music with its exploration of a girl handling grief in the face of the world's overflowing pop culture images. "Go tell Britney and go tell Gwen; She's not trying to go against all them; Cause she's too scared and she can't pretend." Highlighted by a haunting flute, the lyrics are again straightforward, but this time the payoff is a beautiful one. By honing in on the dilemma of feeling pain in a Britney-fied world, The Sound Of Failure shows a personal and heart-felt side of the band.

Overall Impression — 9
The Flaming Lips' ability to convey a song with an array of instruments, not to mention music genres/styles, is truly evident in At War With the Mystics. From one moment relaying a Pink Floyd-esque instrumental to the next, where the band takes a trip to their funky side, the band has set a new bar for itself. With so many underlying sounds for the ear to take in, listeners will likely find it a pleasure to go over this CD over and over again. And with teach listen, you're likely to hear a whole other element to the song not previously absorbed the first go-round. And that's getting your money's worth right there.

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    How come no body mentioned My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion? That song was one of my favorites of the album. My other favs of the album are The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, Vein of Stars, Mr. Ambulance Driver, It Overtakes Me, The W.A.N.D., and Goin' On. I got the deluxe version and every bonus track is amazing I'd recommend you check them out.
    Why does everyone seem to hate the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song? OK it's not the best track (for me, The Sound of Failure takes this honour, closely followed by Pompeii)but I think it's still a very good song. I really like this album, but because of the Flaming Lips' awesomeness, it's probably level 3rd with Clouds Taste Metallic as far as Lips albums are concerned. The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi are both better.
    O_O i dont even remember making that comment D: but im listneing to this now finally and jeez ajofiejf i read this review on amazon && this guy was talking about how you find music (or music finds you) when it's your time to hear it.. which I completely believe but I've never really been able to put it so simply haha... but this is the time here :X for me and this and i dont know im just joaijfe))))right now everything is so shit but zeflaminglips are just ahhhhh
    To see the Lips doing 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' or 'Radicals' live with all sincerity is a blast. So glad they did not try to rehash 'Pink Robots', (which I love) and came out with something fresh. They are one of the only interesting bands around these days.
    I am so going to buy this soon... I downloaded this and I'm only on the third track; I love this.
    AWWTM is the second best album from the flaming lips (The soft bulletin is numero uno) this album, in my opinion, kicks yoshimi's ass. That CD was was good, but AWWTM is better!
    the itunes bonus had 2 more good songs( gold in the mountain of out madness and an awesome bohemian rhapsody cover, its awesome, really !)
    I think that the album is great. From the very first song to the last it is classic lips. While not as good as "Yoshimi", in my opinion. It is still a great listen. With the scarcity of great albums coming out every year it is definatly an island of relief in an ocean of diarhea.
    Ok , the "yeah , yeah , yeah " part is the best part of the whole song JET116.
    first song sucked. they ruin it with stopping it every 5 sec to say "yea yeah yeah" not a good cd
    The second half of it overtakes me blows me away, and mr ambulance driver is amazing, that said parts are disapointing.
    i dont have it yet but ive been needing to pick it up since heard mr ambulance driver. fantastic song.
    I love this album, Mr. Ambulance Driver's probably my favourite track off it.
    Yummer Cat
    I find it's one of those albums that the more you listen to it, the more you like it. Right now, I'm loving it. My favourite is "It Overtakes Me."
    I agree, what an excellent album. To go from simple beauty in songs like The Sound of Failure, then such stand up rock songs like It Overtakes Me and The W.A.N.D. is incredible.