The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody

Given how out there that The Flaming Lips are, it’s impressive how successful they’ve been....
The Flaming Lips : Oczy Mlody
7.5 Warner Brothers

The Flaming Lips : Oczy MlodyGiven how out there that The Flaming Lips are, it’s impressive how successful they’ve been. In recent times, they’ve ‘reimagined’ two seminal records, Dark Side of the Moon and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Their live shows are justifiably acclaimed, with confetti cannons, balloons, costumes, and singer Wayne Coyne (QRO interview) surfing the crowd from inside a giant, inflatable plastic bubble. Most recently, they worked with none other than pop princess Miley Cyrus as her backing band for Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. So where do The Flaming Lips find themselves on new studio record Oczy Mlody? Somewhere between it all.

After delivering such amazing indie-pop/psych records The Slow Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots, the knock on the last two Flaming Lips ‘regular’ studio releases, The Terror (QRO review) and Embryonic (QRO review), was that they had veered too far from the pop sensibilities in Bulletin & Yoshimi to full-on psych-mood albums without any hooks. Oczy is not the second coming of Yoshimi, but it does have a few songs where the old bright catch resurfaces glowingly. “Sunrise (Eyes of the Young)” and “The Castle” shine like old (“The Castle” reminiscent of “Yoshimi” in particular), with Coyne reaching for the heavens.

But there are also a lot of distant meanders with synths, effects, even strings. Any Flaming Lips record is gonna have some interstitial psychedelica, but it seems a little too dominant on Mlody. And yes, there is guest appearance by Miley, closer “We a Famly”, though it’s decidedly Cyrus’ Dead Petz psychedelica – and is a bit overshadowed in the guest spot department by musical comedian (and Late Late Show band leader) Reggie Watts’ part of “There Should Be Unicorns”.

The Flaming Lips are certainly an ambitious band, in all manners, from their live shows to whom they work with to what they make. And if Oczy Mlody can’t sum them up, what could?

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