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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

High As Hell Reviews : The Flaming Lips "At War With The Mystics"

I've heard this album 7 or 8 times now and so I feel it's time to give it it's chance for a wonderful HIGH AS HELL review here at mp3reviews. that's right. the album of course isn't officially released till April but was leaked last week. My estimation of the album is quite high - while not being quite the "masterpiece" that The Soft Bulletin is - it is a lot of fun. I'm not really sure I can compare it to any other Lips album and that's a good thing - it's got it's own feeling. It's got a lot of energy and a lot of sort of ridiculous songs but it's also got a few really beautiful moments. Anyhoo that's it with the setup. Let's get going here! I need some more of the marijuana though, really, now, don't I?


1. yeah yeah yeah -

i'm not sure what to think of this at the very moment. the verses are almost ridiculously cheesey in a way. i do love the line "with all your power" - the way he sings power is great. the over the top flange actually works here - usually i dont like it when you can so obviously hear what effect is being used. ahh-ahh-ah-ahhh. those crazy frank zappa-ish indian chants do my head in. those are well cool. really a weird song - it sort of thumps along but... i don't know hard to explain really brothers. i dont find it much of a close your eyes and chill type song though - its too upbeat and over the top silly for that. i enjoy the song though, much fun.

2. free radicals -

i love the ahh-ahh-ahh harmonies. reminds me of the beatles. mmm delicious. i also love the way the drums are just slammin' away and it just feels very much like the song takes of then. really cool. theres a ton of weird sounds going on here. and you think you're radical but you're not so radical, in fact you're fanatical.

3. the sound of failure -

this has been one of the real growers of the album for me, at first i didnt like this one at all, i was put off by the overly precise/clean sound of the guitars and overall production during the verses and the sort of AM Gold cheesed out guitars on the chorus and i thought the whole thing just sort of went on forever... but now i sort of just get it and it works for me - really beautiful song - great backing vocals - i hadnt really noticed till just now just how great some of the backing vocals are. those "ooh ooh" on the second verse are just killer. love that. so go tell britney, and go tell gwen... she's not trying to go against all them. i think it's sort of part of this songs charm that it's so radio friendly sounding (especially compared to most of the other stuff on the album) being that it's theme is about this girl not wanting to hear sickly sweet pop music like britney spears when she's dealing with real things in her life. sort of all works. could be a single i think - although it's not as immediate or as catchy as say.. do you realize - it's still a pretty lovely song and i quite like this spaced out ending. great flute sound. i think they actually were using a demo on a plugin because theres a sound in there that happens when you're exporting a demo in this one plugin... and i think they just left it in there on purpose with a wink to see if anyone would notice. good stuff. i could pinpoint the exact sound i'm talking about but... hey it's next song and it's one of my favorites...

#4 - Cosmic ....

This song just tickles my nipples. It's prettier than a wombat. the guitar solo just destroys me. possibly my favorite moment of the whole album this guitar solo. to me it's like a little bit of zaireeka just thrown in this album. the just insane layers of noise that just destroy your mind made all the more perfect by the fact that it comes out of it to this just beautiful second verse. just a great song. sorry i didnt say more but i was listening, man.

#5 - vein of stars

WHO KNOWS?! maybe there isn't a vein of stars calling out my name. man again im not saying anything. i'm really being drawn into these songs now. this is a bit of a highlight on the album i think this little stretch here. its strange the way the album goes from being over the top silly on the first 2 tracks to sort of very pretty but very strangely radio friendly on the 3rd track before getting a bit more serious and beautiful on tracks 4 & 5. atleast that's how i'm seeing the album as of the moment. more just great backing vocals. there's really a lot of great layers of vocals on this album.

#6 - the wizard turns on -

one of the more just totally crazy moments in the labum the way this song starts out. start of pink floyd welcome to the machine-ish with the insane sounds here. i love the way the drums in come in and just crash all over the place. this song reminds me a lot of darkside of the moon actually for more pink floyd references... but a bit more warped somehow. darkside could already get pretty warped but this song just has a really sort of wild funk sound to it. i've never been a real huge fan of yoshimi part 2. and the soft bulletin instrumentals while being nice are definitly not high points of the album - but to me this song just kicks ass - one of my favorite tracks on the album. oh uh.. its an instrumetnal. i was assuming you knew that man.

#7 - it overtakes me...

this is a suite and the second part of it was my favorite part of the album on my initial listening - it just killed me. but anyways i'm jumping ahead of me. the beginning of the song is wayne doing his best gwen stefani hollaback girl. not really one of my favorite parts of the album BUT i do LOVE the "you know that it isnt real" part that comes in. that's awesome. theres some insane munchking voices in this piece. and then its like its floating out of wherever it was... sort of just disingrating in darkness... really nicely done there... if i had to pick just one moment in this album this would probably be it. i just love the way it transitions to this. i dont undersand anything at all. goosebump moment for me. just beautiful . and the acoustic guitar... its like going back in front of the fireplace after an interstellar trip... warming your bones by the fire in a cabin or some shit. in otherwords - goddamn brilliant. another bit in this album that sort of reminds me of pink floyd.

#8 mr ambulance driver -

this is a very subtle song but theres a lot of neat little things going on - i like all the ilttle details in the drums and in the guitars and in the backing vocals. it's really a nice song. the guitar on the chorus is very cool. i love the line "oh we cant trade places, our lives are strangely our own" --- my favorite part of the song may be the outro vocals "waiting for the ambulance to come, ooh ooh"

#9 havent got a clue -

just a totally out there song sonically. pretty ridiculous lyrically and sort of hard to take seriously as a song - but the sounds are pretty outrageous. theres just a ton going on in this song - perhaps OTT! hyperactive and great for the ADD set. i like those sudden shifts into the "ahh ahhh ahhh" sort of choir vocals. possibly a synth or heavily effected vocals

#10 the wand -

another hyperactive track this one. this one has grown on me a ton from when i first heard it. it's got a quite strange structure which i think makes it a bit hard to dig at first but the more you hear it - the more it gets into you i think. i love the phased out QUEEN type vocal bits. just great. i love the drums on this track. at first those cutting back and forth bits that happen i thought were too much - but i get 'em now and they work rock n roll type biz on my brainpatterns. awesome HIGH harmonies. and i love the melody on "why cant they see..." and then the next bit when it goes high. ah, just great. AND WE KNOW WHY WE FIGHT!

#11 pompeii -

one of my favorites from the get go. and another track that reminds me of pink floyd. i just love the sound of it. the vocals coming out of the top of your head. the sounds all flying all around your brains. the great pulsating bass. and then when it really gets going and the flute comes in and the sounds start crashing all around - its just killer. "one of these days" by pink floyd is definitly recalled by this one. i think a lot of people who otherwise cant get into the lips might love this song. just a sort of a different thing from what the lips have done before and they do it just awesome. great song. ALL MY SENSES. the flute mmm! the guitar part that comes in during the last minute is great - really like taking the song and somehow taking it even higher into outer space or something. really great stuff.

#12 goin' on -

this song was one of the last ones to grow on me. but i love it now.. inspite of the "uh huh" on the prechorus which just drove me crazy at first. they also used the "watch beep" sound again from the soft bulletin - probably as a reference to that. maybe an interesting reference being as the name of the song is goin' on... maybe sayin yo this is a biscuit from the past of the dolphin and now we're rockin this biz. this song really starts being great to me starting around 1:50 --- i just love the vocal parts starting there... really pretty. and again like throughout the album just great backing vocals. this is not a hit and definitly i think takes awhile to sink into the head - but its got some really pretty moments and some beautiful backing vocals - at first i didnt like that this came on after pompeii but it works for me now.

anyways - pretty great album - i wasnt really able to get myself fully into high as hell close my eyes and trip out mode. i dont think this is a really great album for that in a way because its so hyperkinectic and is so silly at times that it sort of takes you out of that place - but that being said - its a lot of fun and another great album by the flaming lips. i dont think the songs are as catchy as yoshimi's and it's nowhere near the overall STATEMENT that the soft bulletin was or as experimental and mad crazy as zaireeka or as rockin' as priest driven ambulance. it's not like any of their previous albums really - i think in a lot of ways it may be their most fun & upbeat album although of course with some pretty nice detours into some groovy spacy biz.


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