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Album review: The Flaming Lips refocus on ‘Oczy Mlody’

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Annie Zaleski

Three and a half stars

The Flaming Lips Oczy Mlody

The Flaming Lips haven’t been interested in making easy-to-digest music for more than a decade. That’s not necessarily bad—2006’s At War With the Mystics, for example, balanced kaleidoscopic psych-pop with experimental tendencies—though the mind-set has led to several self-indulgent missteps. Thankfully, the music on Oczy Mlody sounds more focused than other recent Lips releases.

Tranquil resignation reigns, in place of the creeping dread of 2013’s The Terror, with harsh textures (mostly) eschewed for languid synth-pop, an ambient glaze and gentle elements like pillowy electronic percolations (“Almost Home”), heavenly harmonies (standout “Sunrise [Eyes of the Young]”) and mournful orchestration (“Galaxy I Sink”). The album is also notable for its judicious use of forceful rhythms: “Nigdy Nie (Never No)” begins with handclaps and disco-pop grooves, while “Do Glowy” boasts a church bell-like ostinato and 8-bit keyboard squiggles. Oczy Mlody isn’t without its dud moments—“We a Famly,” a castoff from the Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz sessions, is saccharine and inside-jokey—but overall, the album feels grounded in reality.

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