The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody – Album Review
The Flaming Lips return with their 16th studio album with the unusual name of Oczy Mlody. It is the follow up to 2013’s The Terror which was quite a dark album, with Coyne dealing with some personal issues in a very public way. The band have since recorded ‘With a Little Help from My Fwends’ (2014) which recreated Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band track by track and featured guest stars such as Miley Cyrus, Tegan and Sara, My Morning Jacket & J Mascis.
Over the years, the band have undergone many line up changes but still have main man Wayne Coyne at the helm and Steven Drozd working on arrangements. They are barely recognisable from the band that first released ‘Hear It Is’ some 30 years ago back in 1986. These days they are almost exclusively known for their big production live shows featuring confetti cannons and a variety of dancing costumed characters. What the band have never lost though is their sense of humour and it continues to work here.
Title track ‘Oczy Mlody’ is an instrumental that opens with keyboards and a variety of electronic trickery. Second track ‘How’ is the first single off the album and follows in a similar fashion adding Coyne’s high pitched voice. It seems like a dream of an earlier age, something distant and filled with yearning.
‘Back when we were young. We killed everyone
If they fucked with us.. With our baby guns’
‘There Should Be Unicorns’ is another flight of fancy with keyboard and drum machine. Coyne’s voice is even higher and contrasts with the spoken word section.
‘At first there should be unicorns.
The ones with the purple eyes not the ones with green eyes.
Whatever they give them, they shit everywhere.’
‘Sunrise (Eyes Of The Young)’ is another slow keyboard driven song, with a focus on the lyrics and is one of the more successful moments. ‘Nigdy Nie (Never No)’ starts with layered hand claps and more keyboard before unleashing a bass solo to break the mood. ‘Galaxy I Sink’ uses guitars and the occasional large string section but at its heart is a small scale production, almost like a left over from Willy Wonka. ‘Listening To The Frogs With Demon Eyes’ has a clearer vocal track and a good bass line. It seems like a collection of conjoined tracks as it wafts and turns in different directions. Final track ‘We A Family’ opens with an electronic flourish before embracing a strummed guitar. It’s a blissed out and euphoric moment that ends this sprawling and diverse album. The track features guest vocals from pop princess Miley Cyrus.
Throughout the album, the mood is quite sedate and the imagery dream like or drug induced. Surprisingly it’s not an obvious album for a large scale tour. This album is mainly electronic based and it’s often difficult to figure out how the sounds were created. Most songs are keyboard driven and while guitars do feature, they often disappear as soon as they arrive. The band are much changed since their earlier low-fi, guitar driven roots and are now a major player, but they seem to be enjoying it. In truth there is something impressive that they continue to try to evolve and move in different directions.
1. Oczy Mlody 02:54
2. How 04:25
3. There Should Be Unicorns 05:50
4. Sunrise (Eyes Of The Young) 04:05
5. Nigdy Nie (Never No) 04:11
6. Galaxy I Sink 03:57
7. One Night While Hunting For Faeries and Witches and Wizards To Kill 06:08
8. Do Glowy 04:18
9. Listening To The Frogs With Demon Eyes 07:35
10. The Castle 04:51
11. Almost Home (Blisko Domu) 04:54
12. We A Family 04:45