The Flaming Lips
Fight Test
(Warner Bros. 48433)

I love the Flaming Lips in theory, and I always like it when I go somewhere and they happen to be on the ol' hi-fidelity. But as with a lot of groups who have hipster respect, I've put an unspoken embargo on actually owning any of their releases.

Fortunately, I was drunk and record shopping the other day, my normal inhibitions and snobbery out the window like panties from a limo on prom night. Sufficiently drunk that the store could have been playing Zwan and I'd be like, "Wow, this is a really good album." Thank God they were playing Fight Test.

And thank God it sounded as good in the clarity of daylight. This is an EP spun off their Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots album, a release that in part deals with the death of one of their fans, with whom the band was close.

In this context, a dirge-like cover of "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue takes on an entirely different subtext, becoming about grief rather than … um, gay dancing or whatever.

Sure, the hipsters will still sneer derisively and imagine they are "getting" something, like the band is making fun of pop music. They're not. They know a good song when they hear one.

The title track is fucking fantastic, a lot more focussed than most of the stuff I've heard from 'em (although maybe I'm not the person to say … the only other FL song I'd consider GREAT is "The Spiderbite Song" off The Soft Bulletin). Bouncy synth bass, strummy acoustic guitar, lopey drum loops, and some refreshingly sincere, sweet lyrics on this one. I've been humming it all day … which must be annoying the shit out of people coming into my confessional.

The EP also includes a cover of "Knives Out" by Radiohead, a couple of other b-sides that are fine but don't stick, a remix of "Do You Realize" that is good but very nearly ridiculous in spots (the bridge sounds like a deodorant commercial … that's a good thing, to me at least), and a mildly amusing country song about Jack White from the White Stripes.

The fact that this last one isn't a hidden track is my only real issue with the disc. It's such blatant hipster food, designed to make skinny guys in tight t-shirts come in their pants while they hunch over the new releases bin. Would have been a much better in-joke had it not been mentioned … it's like starting a joke with "I just heard the most HILARIOUS joke ever!!!!"

Review by Brownberry Bear