Tuesday, 7 January 2003

Album Review: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

Question: How does a band top one of the greatest and most ambitious LPs ever released? Answer: They release Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.

1999s The Soft Bulletin was an absurdly good album from a group who have constantly sought to push the listener's aural boundaries. Yoshimi sees the band adopt a slightly new approach which leaves them sounding like a 27th Century Mercury Rev, and frankly the result is marvellous.

The first single from the album, Do You Realise? is reminiscent of their earlier classic, Evil Will Prevail and sees Wayne Coyne in reflective mood, "Do you realise / that everyone you know someday will die?" Written for Coyne's girlfriend, it's truly a beautiful song and one that deserves to be every bit as huge as Imagine by John Lennon. In a parallel universe it no doubt is.

Other standout tracks include the opener Fight Test, where Coyne tells a tale of regret where he let another man take his girlfriend "Thought I was smart / thought I was right / I thought it better not to fight." It's an astonishing song and one that goes alongside Smells Like Teen Spirit, Black Dog and Mojo Pin as a contender for greatest ever opening track.

The recent titular single tells the underlying tale of the album, that of a young girl's battle against an army of robots. It marks a return to the Lips passion for bizarre track titles and more bizarre lyrics ("She's a black belt in karate working for the city / she has to discipline her body / cause she knows that it's demanding to defeat those evil machines") Nevertheless Coyne's delivery is exceptional as he glides over a messy series of squelching sounds.

This is a tremendous album and proof that The Flaming Lips continue to tread their own path.

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