17 Songs, 1 Hour 13 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While not their most realized album – see 1999’s The Soft BulletinAt War With the Mystics is still a worthwhile trip into the wild blue sonic yonder. It’s less reliant on computers than their previous album, 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, but still jammed tight with aural tricks and hallucinations, whiplash edits and headphone-deserving surprises. Think of the songs less as standard compositions and more like carefully constructed amusement park rides where you’re bound to feel a little queasy from all the action. Acoustic ballads transform into space jams without warning and leader Wayne Coyne is likely to hijack the proceedings to indulge himself in his Prince-like falsetto and white man minimalist funk (“It Overtakes Me”) just when you expect he might be settling down. There’s a political undercurrent here (“Free Radicals”) but the true focus remains the Lips’ fascination with carnivalesque arrangements. “Vein of Stars” is a moody keyboard piece supported with distant shrieks of wah-wah’d guitar and ghostly background vocals. “Mr. Ambulance Driver” rolls forth with ‘70s-styled electric piano and sirens for authenticity. It’s worth the trip.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While not their most realized album – see 1999’s The Soft BulletinAt War With the Mystics is still a worthwhile trip into the wild blue sonic yonder. It’s less reliant on computers than their previous album, 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, but still jammed tight with aural tricks and hallucinations, whiplash edits and headphone-deserving surprises. Think of the songs less as standard compositions and more like carefully constructed amusement park rides where you’re bound to feel a little queasy from all the action. Acoustic ballads transform into space jams without warning and leader Wayne Coyne is likely to hijack the proceedings to indulge himself in his Prince-like falsetto and white man minimalist funk (“It Overtakes Me”) just when you expect he might be settling down. There’s a political undercurrent here (“Free Radicals”) but the true focus remains the Lips’ fascination with carnivalesque arrangements. “Vein of Stars” is a moody keyboard piece supported with distant shrieks of wah-wah’d guitar and ghostly background vocals. “Mr. Ambulance Driver” rolls forth with ‘70s-styled electric piano and sirens for authenticity. It’s worth the trip.

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