There’s something in these new melodies that’s distinctly Flaming Lips, circa Bonnaroo 2003 or any Burning Man event ever, Wayne Coyne’s voice stretching out over a vast, barren expanse of kaleidoscopic oblivion in the same way one might gobble a fistful of acid and find themselves at a music festival, in search of the source of where said kaleidoscopic oblivion is coming from.
Perhaps you’ve never gobbled a fistful of acid. Or have attended Burning Man or Bonnaroo. The latter while discovering a Flaming Lips set. Either way, welcome to Oczy Mlody. It’s a trancey, glitchy, dub-curious album that is nothing short of stylistic genius.
A profound assertion of the band’s transcendental vibes, the ‘Lips manage to keep their proto-indie center while branching out into an ethereal soundscape of psychedelic modernity that should by all standards come across as disingenuous at best. But it’s not.
This album is really good. Impossibly good. An album you send to all your DJ friends without comment. It is the sonic reconciliation of your disparate fandoms — the revelation of indie sensibility and EDM indulgence, of vulgarity and spirituality. It invites your opinion while accepting it preemptively.
Lyrically, it’s a mix of mantric tone poems and guided meditations. It is a carnival of the absurd, and the profound truths that lurk behind the curtain of that absurdity. Which is perhaps why a jazz-hewn monologue by Reggie Watts feels sermonic and revolutionary against a backdrop of aural hedonism in “There Should Be Unicorns:” [LISTEN]
Oczy Mlody is a metaphysical, neurological journey. And the fact that it is so utterly a Flaming Lips album without adhering to the stylistic identity established by the band underscores the mystical quality of its compositions and the lyrics that accompany them.
Morbid, enlightened, awoken, confused, and undyingly curious, The Lips have possibly created the most comprehensive soundscape to a serious life-altering drug experience that has ever been produced. We’re talking Pink Floyd level, mind-unraveling stuff here. Take the percolating psychedelia wails of “Demon Eyes:” [LISTEN]
If their music (and the accompanying videos) speak to a certain tribal ethos congruent with the Burner community, it is the Grand Finale of the album that drives the point deep into the heart of a re-imagined home.
At the center of the Burning Man ideology is the reinvention of family, as something no less sacred than blood, but consciously defined — something that’s chosen and earned rather than birthed. The Flaming Lips don’t just play to this truth, they demonstrate it. And they choose to express it with none other than Miley Cyrus in “We a Family,” which is just the kind of presumption-shucking audacity Burning Man sought to facilitate in the first place: [LISTEN]
Is it meant to be ironic? A self-deprecating statement on consumerism and fads? An assertion of the transcendental nature of music in the face of an ever shifting marketability? Probably all of those things, yes. Though none of these things change the fact that it’s about the most psychedelic thing you’ll put into your earholes this decade.