The Flaming Lips’ new album releasing Friday, the oddly titled “Oczy Mlody,” takes listeners on a strange, melodic, psychedelic journey through the eyes of youth.
Over the past several weeks, the band that brought us such thematic albums as “The Soft Bulletin” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” has released videos for a few songs from their new album, including “The Castle,” “Sunrise (Eyes of the Young)” and “How??,” with each release further revealing the strange world of “Oczy Mlody.”
Band frontman Wayne Coyne, in a press release, said the title “Oczy Mlody” is a Polish phrase that roughly translates to “eyes of the young,” which he said he stumbled upon in a Polish book.
The phrase triggered “something,” Coyne said, “maybe something subconscious. ... They struck me as sounding like Oxy (as in oxycodone) Melody. ...
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“‘Eyes of the Young’ is not really a title that appealed to us, but ‘Oczy Mlody’ meaning ‘eyes of the young’ greatly appealed to us.”
In describing the album, Coyne makes reference to “The Wizard of Oz” with Dorothy traveling through a future where “Oczy Mlody is the current cool powerful party drug of choice and sleeping is the ultimate cure for everything.”
Indeed, listening to the album imparts a sort of narcotic dream effect, with an electronic distortion, reverb-heavy soundtrack featuring heavy bass lines, trippy lyrics and high-pitched vocal harmonies.
Track titles, which give you some indication of the journey, include “How??” “There Should be Unicorns” — which features a spoken portion by Reggie Watts ordering up unicorns with “purple eyes, not the green ones” — “Galaxy I Sink,” “Listening to Frogs with Demon Eyes,” “One Night While Hunting for Fairies and Witches and Wizards To Kill” and “Castle.”
The opening title track “Oczy Mlody” sets the tone for the journey to come with a groovy electronic vibe that flows into the next track “How??” with lyrics, such as, “White trash rednecks, Earthworms eat the ground; Legalize it, Every drug right now; Are you with us. Or are you burnin’ out?” followed by the refrain, “Tried to tell you but I don’t know how! I tried to tell you but I don’t know how! How?”
The final track, “We A Family,” features Miley Cyrus, with whom the Lips collaborated on “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” in 2015.
In between those bookends, most songs on “Oczy Mlody” pick up with a riff from the previous song, giving the album a unifying effect to carry listeners along on the melodic, thematic journey complete with earthy references, otherworldly fantasy lyrics and nature sounds, including a frog backing chorus on “Listening To The Frogs With Demon Eyes.”
Lyrics for “Sunrise” include “You’ve made the morning dew; Now you’re showing me the truth but I don’t want to believe you. The sunbeams Burnin’ my child dreams; The machine that brings me joy, now it’s just a stupid toy.”
The pleasant, mellow journey on which “Oczy Mlody” takes listeners is enjoyable enough but perhaps lacks any standout tracks with the harsher edge of such Flaming Lips favorites as “Race for the Prize” with its awesome drumming, “All We have is Now” with its slowly building chorus or “Do You Realize” with its anthemic glory — all memorable tracks from “Soft Bulletin” and “Yoshimi.”
Nonetheless, the sleep-inducing effect of “Oczly Mlody” grows on you the more you listen to it, and it is a trip through the eyes of youth worth taking again and again.
Oczy Mlody track list
1. Oczy Mlody
3. There Should Be Unicorns
5. Nigdy Nie (Never No)
6. Galaxy I Sink
7. One Night While Hunting For Faeries and Witches and Wizards To Kill
8. Do Glowy
9. Listening To The Frogs With Demon Eyes
10. The Castle
11. Almost Home (Blisko Domu)
12. We A Famly
Flaming Lips tour schedule
The Flaming Lips will tour the world in support of ‘Oczy Mlody.’ Newly confirmed live dates are as follows:
Jan 21 02 Brixton Academy London, ENG
Jan 22 Manchester Academy Manchester, ENG
Jan 24 Columbiahalle Berlin, GER
Jan 25 Vega Copenhagen, DEN
Jan 26 Munchen Brewery Stockholm, SWE
Jan 28 Tivoli Vredenburg Utrecht, HOLL
Jan 30 Alcatraz Milan, ITA
Jan 31 Volkshaus Zurich, SWI
Feb 02 Le Bataclan Paris, FRA
Feb 03 De Roma Antwerp, BEL
Mar 03 H.O.B. Boston, MA
Mar 04 The Fillmore Philadelphia, PA
Mar 05 9:30 Club Washington
Mar 06 9:30 Club Washington
Mar 08 College Street Music Hall New Haven, CT
Mar 09 Terminal 5 New York, NY
Mar 13 Rebel Complex Toronto, ONT
Mar 14 Royal Oak Music Theater Detroit, MI
Mar 29 War Memorial Auditorium Nashville
Mar 30 The Fillmore Charlotte, NC
Mar 31 The Ritz Raleigh, NC
Apr 02 Tabernacle Atlanta
Apr 03 H.O.B. Lake Buena Vista, FL
Apr 04 Jannus Live St. Petersburg, FL