December 4, 2003

Test Spin: Flaming Lips

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On the Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell EP, the Flaming Lips offer up four new original tracks in addition to three remixes of songs from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The first track, “Assassination of the Sun,” returns to the orchestral sound of The Soft Bulletin. You could almost insert it anywhere on the album. Ditto for “I’m a Fly in a Sunbeam.” While it contains no vocals, it is a beautiful instrumental piece that would serve as an effective transition song on any album. “Sunship Balloons” returns to the layered electro-pop of Yoshimi, driven by stuttering yet steady drumming.

Now for the remixes. Jimmy Tamborello’s production on “Do You Realize??” is a huge disappointment. Instead of the emotionally powerful sounds he has become famous for, Tamborello adds a light and airy beat, taking away from much of the song’s gravity.

The two “Ego Tripping” remixes are nice enough, but pale in comparison to the original version, offering nothing innovative and exciting. The Jason Bentley remix especially seems like more of a reworking than a new creation.

The EP closes with an earnest call for world peace with “A Change at Christmas.” Here Wayne Coyne does his best Bono impression, from the overly-idealistic lyrics to his vocals’ striking similarity to Bono’s on “Ultraviolet.”

So while this isn’t the greatest listen in the world, it’s still the Flaming Lips, and it’ll do a nice enough job of tiding me over while I continue to await the Christmas on Mars DVD.

Archived article by Ross McGowan