The Flaming Lips
At War with the Mystics
“The W.A.N.D.,” a single teasingly released over a month in advance of the Lips’ first full album since 2002, signals the new album’s direction; it adds ’70s-style vocals and crunchy guitar riffs to the band’s signature mix of ambient sounds and digital-effects wizardry. At War with the Mystics matches sounds borrowed from a wide variety of rock sources—prog, Sly Stone, Sabbath and Zappa—with wild arrangements and heartbreakingly earnest vocals. Wayne Coyne allows a bit of political anger into his lyrics but in a weird, introspective and variously interpretable way. It’s a third success in a three-album winning streak. A downloadable online version of Mystics features several extra tracks, including a brilliantly executed cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Now that’s ambition.