Few bands in the history of rock – whether that be alternative, hard, punk, heavy metal – or in this case, psychedelic, have exhibited the bravery and brilliance of The Flaming Lips. From their beginnings in Oklahoma, the often characterized acid-bubblegum band has stayed true to themselves and fronted a trippy roller coaster ride that has wound its way through an extremely bizarre, ongoing history.
The next chapter in The Flaming Lips’ history, Oczy Mlody, the band’s 14th studio album isn’t the most memorable, nor the most forgettable. Described by Mark Coyne as “Syd Barrett meets ASAP Rocky […] trapped in a fairy tale from the future”, Oczy Mlody is abstract – quite difficult to latch onto without the melodies that were at the heart of The Flaming Lips during their heyday.
Coyne’s vocals are difficult to pick out, often drifting in and out with the electronic noise, as if trapped in the self-proclaimed fairy tale from the future. Instead Coyne almost dares his listeners to pick out lyrics for themselves, much easier done in “How?” – a track that gives reason to why Oczy Mlody bears a Parental Advisory warning, the first since the band’s fifth studio album Hit To Death In The Future Head.
Oczy Mlody suggests we should embrace the innocence of youth. “Back when we were young… We killed everyone / If they fucked with us… With our baby guns,” croons Coyne. In context, the lyrics are seemingly dispute-driven towards political leaders. When adults are described as behaving like children, they’re often behaving like adults.
Oczy Mlody consistently shifts, refusing to remain stagnant in one train of thought. “Listening to the Frogs with Demon Eyes” casts Coyne’s belief on the beauty of existence – “I can’t see the moon though I know it’s there, I can’t see the end but I know it is there, I can’t see the sun but I feel it’s there, I can’t see your love but I know it is there.” The message speaks to the theme behind Oczy Mlody as a whole. While the beauty of The Flaming Lips’ 15th record isn’t always present, outside “How?”, “Sunrise (Eyes of the Young)” and the Miley Cyrus driven “We a Famly”, it’s there and recognizable if we listen hard enough.
Sunrise (Eyes of the Young)
We a Famly
Neutral Milk Hotel
Original review by Jared Allen