As someone who hasn't yet tired of the Flaming Lips' big-hearted grown-up whimsy, I keep trying to find ways to excuse the half-assedness of the band's new Flight Test EP: "They've been busy on the road becoming the aw-shucks Gallaghers of major-label art-rock"; "You can't expect full-blown brilliance from a hunk of stopgap product only really intended for fans"; "They're working on that Christmas on Mars movie that'll probably hit theaters the same weekend as The Matrix Remembered." But the thing is just tired: humdrum covers of Kylie Minogue, Beck and Radiohead tunes whose potential seems limitless but whose value is limited, two new songs whose titles (including "Thank You Jack White [For the Fiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me]") promise genius but whose music delivers modest charm, and a Scott Hardkiss remix of Yoshimi's "Do You Realize??" that actually is pretty fun. Still, show up at the Granada with high hopes and you won't likely be disappointed; after a spell backing the relatively subdued Beck, Wayne Coyne's probably just dying to douse your ass with fruit juice and confetti. And don't miss openers the Starlight Mints, who also hail from the Lips' demented corner of Oklahoma; Built on Squares, their nifty new album, is a bright blast of strings-laden psych-pop that doesn't sound as much like the Lips as the circumstantial evidence would suggest.
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