At War With The Mystics - The Flaming Lips
At War With The Mystics Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 141 Ratings

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  • Summary: Dave Fridmann returns as producer for the ever-weird, Wayne Coyne-led band's first release in four years.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 100
    Make no mistake, the Lips have done it: three astonishing LPs in a row. [May 2006, p.94]
  2. Coyne is a shrewd observer of human nature, and an even shrewder songwriter and this album stands as his greatest and most varied work yet.
  3. The wondrous beauty of Yoshimi hasn't been abandoned entirely... but the fighting spirit throughout At War With The Mystics is what truly sustains it. [#13, p.85]
  4. At War With The Mystics is impossible to digest in a single listen; it's a true headphone album that demands attention and rewards the patient with unexpected delights.
  5. Coyne and company may have reached the limits of what cartoon universalism can do, but beneath the random bombast on Mystics--which frequently sounds like Steely Dan as heard from the other end of a machine shop--there's some Pink Floyd-styled moodiness and '70s singer-songwriter melodicism that suggests new areas for the band to explore.
  6. Sonically, the album picks up exactly where the Lips left off with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots: heavy on the pop psychedelics, occasionally odd without being inaccessible.
  7. Those farty sounds and the guy with the deeeeeeeeeep voice on "It Overtakes Me" are called "bells and whistles." That's what bands do when they don't have anything to say.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 99
  2. Negative: 8 out of 99
  1. Feb 7, 2013
    10
    This album is an overlooked masterpiece. It has the sort of kookiness the Flaming Lips can boast about while mixing in deeper, more melodic songs. "Mr. Ambulance driver" is a fantastically emotional song while "W.A.N.D." is an electric anthem of empowerment. The opening track is odd, but completely wonderful. There's a lot of atmosphere on this album and some people might find the lulls unpleasant, but when looked at as a whole and not just a collection of songs it's hard not to reflect on the beauty of it all. Collapse
  2. Mack
    Apr 11, 2006
    10
    This album is great. It's diverse, experimental, fun, and it seems to encompass the perfect mix of new ideas with just enough accessibility. To quote from below: "...i can't imagine any of these tracks stripped down to just a voice and guitar/keyboard, which is one measure of a well written song..." - tom z. What? Maybe that's due to a lack of imagination on your part. First of all, stripping a song down isn't necessarily a measure of a song - and sometimes that task just takes a little imagination. Consider that John Mayer covered Radiohead's song "Kid A". Not exactly an acoustic-strummer on first listen. Anyway, most of the poor reviews of this album are probably due to the new fans of the group expect another Yoshimi - especially the accessibility of that album. That one was great, but a band as original as the Flaming Lips face a catch-22 with their subsequent releases. If they don't experiment and simply remain static, they'll surely make some fans happy (and possibly score some radio hits) but the critics will bash them for staying complacent. If they experiment, then many fans will be polarized by the new sounds, but the band at least gets to flex their creative minds. So, to me, it's great, and I don't want the Lips to ever stay the same - every album seems like a discovery, which is wonderful. Expand
  3. StephenI
    Jun 29, 2006
    9
    I love it, simple beats, great tunes, awesome music, I love it!
  4. matta
    Apr 4, 2006
    8
    Now, even a mediocre lips album is pretty great, but people like coy and other giving a 10 are just kidding themselves. Yoshimi could afford filler because it had six or seven of the most gorgeous songs I have ever heard on it, but this album doesn't have that luxury, so throwaway tracks like "wizard" and "pompeii" just seem like a waste. Still, we do have some serious lips classics here (Free Radicals, The Sound of Failure, Mr. Ambulance Driver, Haven't Got A Clue, and Goin On), and these moments salvage the album, in fact, they make it worth your money. Expand
  5. DamonT
    Apr 23, 2007
    8
    Mostly, a very enjoyable album.
  6. MikeK
    Apr 13, 2006
    6
    I'm a huge Lips fan and have been awaiting this album since the day after Yoshimi was released. I gotta say, I'm dissapointed. Strange when an album doesn't really get going until halfway through, stranger still when there isn't one track that really stands out. As an album, I guess it holds together, but the individual songs just aren't that great. I don't know, I find it kinda boring. Also, where before the sound effects were used to heighten a song, I feel they're put in place here just to sound wonky and diffrerent. Wayne's voice also sounds a bit tired. I want to like it and maybe it will grow on me, but it shouldn't have to. I loved their prior two albums on first listen and just loved them more each time. There was no effort involved and contrary to what other posters say, that's what makes a great album. If you have to listen over and over to find something you like, then the band didn't do their job. Expand
  7. JonnyFreshNone
    Apr 29, 2006
    1
    This album is the sound of Pro-Tools coming alive, and being able to catch and eat the Flaming Lips band members because they were tired and just sitting in the control room. Lots of effects. No melodies. Poor lyrics. Tired sounding singing. Flat production and engineering on the drums. A flat, dying-goose sound for a guitar on almost every track. Forgotten .wav files in Pro Tools tacked on the end of songs. Four years for this? Are the Lips even a rock band anymore, or a corporation? As Wayne says on one of the worst Flaming Lips songs ever made ( Haven't Got a Clue): " Oh, Come on". Expand

See all 99 User Reviews