David Bazan lightens up and delivers questioning, long-drive rock with Starflyer 59’s front-man, Jason Martin, Trey Many, and TW Walsh.
On first listen, Oczy Mlody sounds like Wayne Coyne and company got sick of hanging out with Miley Cyrus and decided to make a Flaming Lips album. The sonic texture is warmer and brighter than the last album, The Terror, with the brilliant weirdness we’ve come to expect from the Lips.
As usual, the lyrics are oddball, but with Coyne’s signature gentle vocals. That juxtaposition is on display in the second track, “How??,” where the singer laments, “When we were young, we killed everyone/if they fucked with us/with our baby guns.” Some of the tinny and scratchy background effects from The Terror remain underneath many of the tracks on Oczy Mlody, but they seem much more creatively focused.
It’s no mistake that most of their recent press material and social media photos are heavily influenced by A Clockwork Orange. The music video for “How??” sees Coyne and crew rolling up to some place that resembles the Korova Milk Bar. The music itself is not as disturbing as the imagery from the Stanley Kubrick classic, but more much more mellow and slightly mischievous. Coyne himself described the term “Oczy Mlody” as a futuristic drug that “uses your own sub-conscious memories and transports you to your perfect childhood happy mind.” This seems perfectly fitting for a band that has actually been around since the early ‘80s.
The Flaming Lips you know and love from the mid-’00s comes out in tracks like “Sunrise” and “The Castle,” with that positively psychedelic vibe from The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. “Sunrise” (subtitled “Eyes of the Young” — a loose translation of Oczy Mlody in Polish) is one of those songs that can shift your mood into a cheerful state upon hearing the first few chords. It’s great to hear the old Wayne Coyne come through in tracks like this. While Oczy Mlody has the dark, melodic sounds of recents works, the soothing and gentle stylings of old have returned to glory. Each track is composed with hypnotic, well-constructed beats and effects that make this a well-rounded and well-thought-out album. Oczy Mlody should easily appeal to a new audience as well as the hardcore Flaming Lips fans who have been waiting for something to be excited about, besides a release of four songs on a jump drive buried in a gummy skull.»