By John Samuel Mecum
The Flaming Lips have had a quiet couple of years. Apart from accompanying Miley Cyrus on her “Dead Petz” project, the psychedelic-rock journeymen have kept to themselves. They are back and in full-swing with their latest release, “Oczy Mlody.” This hypnotic, fifty-eight-minute album focuses more on a vibe than it does telling a story. Not to say that it doesn’t have a story to tell, it does; one about sunsets that last for three hours, frogs with demon eyes, and sex on top of unicorns. The thing that sticks with you throughout the album however is not the narrative: It is the deep textures of the sound and the depths that The Flaming Lips take that sound to as things progress. This depth causes this album to feel more like an hour-long hallucination that gently carries you from beginning to end rather than a collection of songs that are isolated from each other.
The album starts off with the title track, a pulsating instrumental with a simple melody that bounces around and sets the mood for the rest of the album. This track does not showcase the depth and layers of sound that develops as the album goes on. “How” and “There Should Be Unicorns” feature a thick heavy synth that begins to scratch the surface of how far down the rabbit hole goes. From there the music flows in a way that feels reminiscent of old Flaming Lips albums, or the spaghetti-western guitar that somehow feels totally appropriate among the synths and electronic beats. Miley Cyrus who, as mentioned earlier, having spent a good portion of last year with The Flaming Lips is also rumored to have been an influence on the modern rap-beat sound of “Oczy Mlody.” Cyrus can be heard singing on the last song of the album, “We a Famly.”
Not to say that there weren’t some rough patches on the album. Some of the rap-like beats sound a tad forced. It drags in some areas and feels a tad incoherent in others, however one may argue that the incoherence is a staple of The Flaming Lips sound. The biggest issue is probably the slow start as the album begins and starts to take shape. Even with a couple bumps in the road, “Oczy Mlody” is well worth the trip taken, and is a good introduction for those not yet familiar with The Flaming Lips.