The Flaming Lips

Record Review

Phases and Stages

THE Flaming Lips

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

(Warner Bros.) Whether you believe the Lips' last project, The Soft Bulletin, was a Beatle-worthy masterpiece of lush pop or a high-pitched novelty best described as ELO fronted by Neil Young, you've been waiting for the band's follow-up. Like Bulletin, Yoshimi is a vaguely conceptual work, awash in rich soundscapes that separate into a dozen songs that are left to succeed or fail on their own. As such, Yoshimi has its moments, but it sounds like leftover brilliance from its older, better brother, padded out with filler to make a new album. The single "Do You Realize??" may be lyrically ideal for radio, but it falls far short of the hummability of Bulletin, from "Waiting for a Superman" to "Race for the Prize." Besides which, the concept album element, which should've gotten annoying on Bulletin, finally does so on Yoshimi. And yes, "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21" actually does sound like Neil Young singing on an outtake from an ELO album (1981's Time, to be specific). Lips, we loved TSB. We still do. But we're not paying you to repeat yourselves -- move on.


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