Do you realize it's summertime? So celebrate the sunshine with the optimisic and philosophical spirit of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, The Flaming Lips' long-awaited follow-up to 1999's The Soft Bulletin, which topped an avalanche of year-end "best of" lists and helped rank the psychedelic-noise-popsters among the most influential bands in the world (#15 according to NME). "It's storytelling acid rock," say The Flaming Lips, "and will render its listeners powerless to study or analyze it and enable them to sit back and--hopefully for a couple of minutes at a time--just simply be...entertained."
As these dimpled moptops from Oklahoma grow pepper-bearded and transform into wizened elder statesmen of sonic adventuring, the heartfelt candy of their loving bubblegum stretches ever longer into echoing soundscapes. If Radiohead are halfway to becoming U2, the Flaming Lips are nine-tenths of the way to pop nirvana. Hardly a song on Yoshimi isn't resonated, echoed, and reverberated--floating the listener higher until they have the ultimate bird's eye view of what makes a great band tick. As with any album by the band, it's hard not to imagine parades and a sky filled with helium balloons while you listen to any of it--in this case, the party is enhanced brilliantly by digital filters and silver shimmering asides. The most immediate songs, like "One More Robot (3000-21)," are digital (almost trip-hop) dance numbers that lift the band out of the cornfields and into the loopy land of Björk. Little surprise, then, that the band are already following up this majestic splash of gummy bear brilliance by recording a CD with TV kids-show host Steve from Blue's Clues
. It's like Woodstock meets Snoopy! --Ian Christe