Fight Test EP
label: Warner Bros.
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
2002 was an
eventful year for The Flaming Lips. Not only did they release
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (an album hailed by many
critics as one of the year's best), but they also took part in
Beck's Sea Change tour as both the opening band as well
as Becks' backing band. As such, it's a bit surprising that they've
found the time to release a full-fledged EP, much less one as
enjoyable as Fight Test.
Like most any
EP, the disc opens up with the title track. Taken from Yoshimi,
chances are most anyone who'll be picking up Fight Test
already has the song. Nevertheless, showcasing the song is far
from hurtful, as it's one of the Lips's best songs to date.
The real reasons
for picking up the EP, however, are what come next. Rather than
including a variety of new studio tracks, The Flaming Lips opted
instead to venture into cover territory - a move which serves
two purposes. One, they're damn good covers; and two, they're
an excellent display of just where the Flaming Lips feel they
fit into today's musical scene. Sure, it might seem a bit out
of place for a band as "weird" as The Flaming Lips to
include a cover of Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of
My Head," but one listen and you'll realize that given the
proper respect, it's a rather nice and (dare I say) heartbreaking
The cover of
"The Golden Age" from Beck's Sea Change is
a close match to the original. And although one might prefer Beck's
depressive tone over Wayne Coyne's "whinier" voice,
what's most interesting here is hearing the band's take on the
music - especially for those of us who failed to see them actually
backing Beck's live show. Radiohead's "Knives Out" follows
closely in the footsteps of "The Golden Age," with their
rendition of the song sounding rightfully like the original, but
with a bit of a difference in arrangement. There's nothing really
all that impressive to it, and it's mostly a throwaway piece musically
- except for the fact that any cover of a Radiohead song,
especially by a band as close to them musically as The Flaming
Lips, is always worth a listen.
Clocking in at just
over 9 minutes, the Scott Hardkiss remix of "Do You Realize,"
is the album's biggest disappointment, however. Not only does
it detract from the poignancy of the original, but it's a completely
boring remix. One would have hoped for something a bit more exciting,
especially given the original work.
The album's two new
songs are perhaps the biggest attractions for the "real"
Flaming Lips fans, and thankfully they're quite welcome additions
to the Lips' already immense song catalog. "The Strange Design
of Conscience" follows Yoshimi's sonic and philosophic
themes quite closely and would have likely found an endearing
home there, while "Thank You Jack White (For the Fiber-Optic
Jesus That You Gave Me)" is the EP's only foray into the
Flaming Lips' less-serious side. It's a jangly little country
piece that's idiotically cute, and a perfect closer for an otherwise
more serious disc.
liked Fight Test...
1. Fight Test
2. Can't Get You Out Of My Head (KEXP version)
3. The Golden Age (CD101 version)
4. Knives Out (KCRW version)
5. Do You Realize (Scott Hardkiss Floating In
Space Vocal Mix)
6. The Strange Design of Conscience
7. Thank You Jack White (For The Fiber-Optic
Jesus That You Gave Me)