The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2002-07-15

Good news: the 11th album from the Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, is just as magnificent as its predecessor. 1999's The Soft Bulletin found this band of Oklahoma acidheads refining their eccentric indie-rock into glittering psychedelic fables. But Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots sees the band evolve even further into new, uncharted realms. Relying on crisp digital textures over muddy feedback rockouts, these 11 tracks are fully realised modern symphonies, twinkling with vivid orchestral sounds. The album's concept is peculiar in the extreme--a Manga-fied tale of a young Japanese girl warring against mechanical foes. Throughout, though, Wayne Coyne's vocals are warm, honest and heartfelt--no matter how absurd the words he's singing: "She's gotta be strong to fight 'em / So she's eaten lots of vitamins", he warbles sweetly on the title track, as vocoders chirrup in the background. Elsewhere, we find some of the Flaming Lips' most touching songs to date. "Do you realise? / That happiness makes you cry? / That everyone you know someday will die?" goes "Do You Realize" before a sparkling key change hikes the song up into a blub-inducing hymn to positivity. And "In the Morning of the Magicians" is a gentle, balladic rumination on love and empathy. Move over, Burt Bacharach: the spirit of classic songwriting appears to have found a new vessel. --Louis Pattison

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