It would be very easy to write off The Flaming Lips
' new full-length Oczy Mlody
as yet another spaced-out trip. At first listen, it certainly sounds like what one would expect a Flaming Lips album to sound like; that is, a candy-coated variation on Pink Floyd
's themes, with lots of droning synths, pitch-shifted vocals, and other weird flourishes. Even the album art contributes to that view, resembling the cover to a dog-eared fantasy paperback.
But it's never that simple with the Lips. Oczy Mlody
is ostensibly the follow-up to the band's 2013 nihilist opus, The Terror
, a record of serious personal trauma within the band. If The Terror
was the Lips at their emotional nadir, then Oczy Mlody
is the band trying to climb out of that hole. If it takes songs about unicorns and hunting faeries to get out, so be it. The band enlists Reggie Watts
on "There Should Be Unicorns," and he obliges with his best Keith David
impression. Meanwhile, "One Night While Hunting for Faeries and Witches to Kill" plays like a D&D
adventure begging for a club remix.
But then you have songs like "Sunrise (Eyes of the Young)" and "Almost Home (Blisko Domu)" that lay their pain bare, and hope for belonging and connection on "We a Famly" (with an assist from Miley Cyrus
), and you find the through-line from the minor key menace of The Terror
. It helps that Wayne Coyne
and Steven Drozd
have established one of the best creative partnerships in music, crafting epic soundscapes that drip with humanity. With Oczy Mlody
, The Flaming Lips have once again found a way to inject the personal into the atmospheric, creating an experience that finds notes of intimacy in the vast cosmos.
The Flaming Lips return to Philadelphia at The Fillmore
on March 4.
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