The Flaming Lips
At War With the Mystics

Reviewed by: Nate De Young
Reviewed on: 2006-04-04

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Posted 04/04/2006 - 07:10:28 AM by bj_randolph:
 I think this one's in for a positive re-evaluation by year's end. It won't achieve the initially-dismissed lost-classic status of a Pinkerton or a Wowee Zowee, but I think the disappointments being expressed in many reviews (in particular the Village Voice's brutal hatchet job) are the initial result of misplaced expectations.

The biggest problem here is that Wayne really phones it in for most of the album; he's half out of ideas, half trying out new ideas that don't work.

But he was doing the same thing on Yoshimi, and the production carried that one. Here again, Drozd and Fridmann craft a lot of good, a few genuinely great tracks around Coyne's tired musings. And they know it, too, that's why they mixed the vocals lower than on any previous Lips album.

Again, hardly a classic, but I think the music will hold up on this one. Besides, how can you not root for these guys?

Posted 04/04/2006 - 07:14:53 AM by florenz6:
 Well, sorry, but it´s this review that sounds dull. At War With The Mystics is another gem in the work of the Flaming Lips. Yes, it is not so coherent, the single pieces are not so clearly structured as they were on the two previous albums, but that is part of the game. Again, Wayne Coyne and his ensemble have managed to create a wonderful melange of sounds, atmospheres and songs. It´s passionate, dark and soulful music. And when the single particles of the songs often tend to fall apart, well, that´s simply intentional, and not a weakness in the composing process. there are not may bands on this planet who can be so original, even when they put out songs with so many musical echoes.And this is written by someone who, apart from the new FL cd, in tehse days loves to listen to the new albums from Euros Childs and the Nits ("Les nuits" is due to release, a dreamy masterpiece from the band from Amsterdam)! The best reviews i found about "At war With The Mystics" appeared in the Guardian and Mojo. Look there to be not wrong-tracked! Best wishes from Germany!
Posted 04/04/2006 - 09:30:17 AM by fleezer:
 weak ass songs
Posted 04/04/2006 - 09:55:25 AM by gnarles:
 Wow, what a great review! I mean, at first, I thought you were talking about At War With The Mystics, but then when I kept reading about how "tired" it is and how it trots out the same old tricks to diminishing returns, and I realized that you're actually reviewing Stylus itself! How meta! Soon, you'll be at the level of your apparent idols, Pitchfork. What a great day it will be when this increasingly desperate and contrarian-for-the-sake-of-being-contrarian webzine becomes as pulverizingly smug and annoying as they are.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 10:36:55 AM by KlausFraktal:
 This is a bad album.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 11:59:27 AM by mvdu76:
 This album is ok. You're harsh - it deserves a B- or C+. After the first three songs, the album runs out of steam.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 12:54:31 PM by idunnowhy:
 yeah this album isn't so hot. Why so much dissing of Yoshimi, though? I think its perfect.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 01:03:39 PM by florenz6:
 It is really not so interesting, if someone thinks this record deserves A+ or D-. I would like to read arguments. For example, this album is a grower. I got it 5 weeks before its relase, cause I´m working as a journalist. Initialy, I was a bit disappointed, but after a while, I got deeper into it. Wayne´s voice is not put down in he mix, because he was "tired" or something - these strange mixes were (sometimes) just ways to present a singer on the verge of falling apart - different personas, you see. Some of the people would possibly reevualuate their opinions after some weeks. Apart from that, I find the irony of "Gnarles" quite fitting. And it made me laugh! These werde some arguments - so here is an A!!!!!!!!
Posted 04/04/2006 - 01:17:17 PM by Marcopolo:
 florenz6 is deadly dull.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 01:30:01 PM by florenz6:
 What a great argument, "Marcopolo". So sophisticated, you know. Everybody now knows there is a great spirit working - and what a big name!
Posted 04/04/2006 - 02:20:35 PM by motelmoka:
 I downloaded the leaked version two weeks ago and I'm glad I did it that way. Very boring album... must be the american nature of the band...
Posted 04/04/2006 - 04:01:51 PM by Meowface:
 "must be the american nature of the band" what the fuck does that mean? seriously, i'm not offended, just confused.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 04:10:24 PM by boilingboy:
 Transmissions FROM THE Satellite Heart. Yes, it does matter. Too bad, because I liked the review.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 04:11:37 PM by MEKsLP:
 Question: Why to readers like gnarles even bother to read Stylus or Pitchfork if they hate them so? After hearing about 3 Costello albums I decided just to leave the bastard alone. Why? Because I can't stand his music. Honestly, if you don't like it here then occupy yourself with something more stimulating.
Posted 04/04/2006 - 06:18:13 PM by cwperry:
 Back in '90, Rolling Stone gave Prince's dreadful Graffiti Bridge five stars, but by the time his next golden age arrived in '95 with The Gold Experience, they'd all but forgotten him. That same magazine gave R.E.M.'s watered-down and limp Out of Time a similarly high mark. Both of those questionably positive reviews seemed like apologies for something--and when the whole world stopped to praise 1999's The Soft Bulletin, it felt like it was happening all over again. In the Lips' case, it seemed to me like the aforementioned album's praise came as a late-arrival apology for missing the boat on the band's earlier and excellent work on Warner Bros. I thought Bulletin was an iffy album, and thought Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots was downright bad. Now that the world is giving At War With the Mystics some spotty reviews, I have to wonder: is it a backlash--is this really a good album, but people have Lips Fatigue? I'll find out when I hear it. But after several years of seeing Coyne with blood on his face or martian makeup on, I'm simply not that interested any more. Regardless of what the world thinks, what once was the most groundbreaking band in rock and roll has become a self-parody. When I first saw the cover art to the new album, which looks like it might as well be called Episode 2 of Yoshimi, I had no choice but to think to myself that Coyne and the boys have officially jumped the shark.
Posted 04/05/2006 - 02:31:40 AM by :
 The aforementioned album title has been corrected on 04/05/2006. We regret the error.
Posted 04/08/2006 - 01:46:14 AM by AlecIsAlec:
 Shouldn't production accent good songwriting, not take it's place? Flaming Lips have been falling off since Soft Bulletin when they decided production was more important than good songs. Wayne Coyne meanwhile just rides a wave of hype and mediocre synth stylings. This is like Diet Yoshimi which was like Diet Soft Bulletin. The Mercury Rev is far more worthy of everyone's time at this point.
Posted 04/20/2006 - 08:07:48 PM by Peejay:
 C-?... Are you on crack? I guess you just can't follow the progression that artists make. Stagnant bands, like your favorite (To-To), might be able to survive as people, but Wayne has grown artistically, as should you (all). He didn't make another "Yoshime", because that is over...You should let it go...
Posted 04/25/2006 - 11:10:09 PM by badhaircut:
 Yeah, pretty much. By and large I'm not feeling this one too much.
Posted 04/26/2006 - 03:53:02 PM by cables:
 I'm a huge flaming lips fan and I root for them to keep putting out masterpieces. This album is far from a masterpiece. In fact, it's really not that good at all. Yoshimi and the Soft Bulletin were amazing albums. I think this review is dead-on and everyone who says otherwise is just offended by anyone who tries to point out the bands miscues.
Posted 05/05/2006 - 06:29:31 PM by BeingaBunny:
 Coyne should do some fucking drugs for once. God.
Posted 08/30/2007 - 07:43:11 PM by garlad1:
 Due to critic panning, I waiting over a year to buy this album. Could no longer avoid the 180gram lp beconing me from the record store shelf. Took it home and spun that baby. Guess what? This album TOTALLY ROCKS!!! The critics were wrong. Time and relevance will expose this album as an overlooked near-classic.