Flaming Lips

At War With the Mystics (Warner Bros.)

The Flaming Lips' latest was largely inspired by leader Wayne Coyne's extreme dislike for President Bush -- a fact that might have spoiled the fun for fans of every ideological description. After all, the delicate balance of beauty, wit and spaciness that's marked the band's recent work left no room for overt anger. Fortunately, though, the new disc isn't a one-dimensional screed, but an eccentric slab of pop psychedelia that wraps topical references in weirdness.

During "Free Radicals," the Flamers take on terrorism, yet the vocals are mainly delivered in goofy falsetto, and the worst insult Coyne dishes out is "You're turning into a poor man's Donald Trump." Likewise, "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" juxtaposes philosophical observations ("It's a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want") with a bouncy melody and exquisitely silly "yah-yah-yah-yah" background vocals. And while "Haven't Got a Clue" has a semi-nasty lyrical edge, it also features ultra-sweet harmonies that even George W. might find irresistible.

Okay, probably not. But for the rest of us, such touches make this one War worth supporting.

 
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