The Flaming Lips — "At War with the Mystics" (Warner Bros., 2006) It has been four years since "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" made the Flaming Lips famous, but "Mystics" proves they have spent that time well. This album is longer, more stylistically diverse and more energetic.
Like "Yoshimi," "Mystics" is built around a loose theme, though here the theme is more political. There is little question of who the Lips are mocking in "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," with lines like: "If you could make everybody poor just so you could be rich/Would you do it?" As expected, however, the theme has a surreal whimsy to it, reminiscent of "The Softest Bullet Ever Shot" or "All We Have is Now." This comes to a head in "The W.A.N.D." which declares "time after time those fanatical minds / try to rule all the world … I've got a trick, a magic stick / that will make them all fall." The mystics have "weapons" to "solve your questions."
Wayne Coyne sings these lines over a monster '70s guitar sound that is sure to rock the arena. On other tracks, the album softens into psychedelic lounge music, in songs like "Vein of Stars," or the flute and phased guitars of "Pompeii Am Goetterdaemmerung."
Buy this album now.
— Brian Johnson