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Pleasing, but not thrilling,
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This review is from: At War With the Mystics (Audio CD)
As someone who loved The Soft Bulletin but failed to be entirely seduced by Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, I approached this album with cautious interest. The Flaming Lips are a band blessed with obvious eccentric talent, but often do not channel it in the most effective way... well, this time they certainly did. This is a consistently good album and probably their most complete piece of work to date. There are fantastic album tracks such as The Sounds Of Failure and My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion and moments of pure pop joy like It Overtakes Me which would have been show-stoppers on their last two albums, but they instead feel like texturally-rich, thoroughly enjoyable, well-crafted pieces of a rather splendid and colourful jigsaw.
It falls short of being dubbed a masterpiece, however, because of a few pedestrian tracks which the album could probably have lived without, such as Mr. Ambulance Driver and Haven't Got A Clue, giving At War With The Mystics an unfortunate mid-album lull. The album finishes strongly with the bizarrely titled Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung and Goin' On - one of the most straight forward songs The Flaming Lips have ever released and, stripped of all their bombast and electronic backdrop, they sound very pleasant indeed. For me this is one of the surprise packages of the year - a consistent Flaming Lips album which generally only pleases and doesn't particularly frustrate.