The Daily Gamecock

Review: New Flaming Lips album not for everyone

Release Date: Jan. 13 

Label: Warner Bros. Records

Duration: 57 minutes

Grade: C

Oklahoma-based band The Flaming Lips have never been known for taking on conventional projects. In a lot of ways, they are innovative. In many more, they are just odd. Their newest record, “Oczy Mlody,” is a mixture of both. Released on Jan. 13, “Oczy” is the latest in a discography of over 20 albums stretching back to 1986, and it is difficult to say whether the work is a step in progression or just another space for the band to feel out its own weirdness. Whatever the motive, “Oczy Mlody” is not for everyone.

The first track opens with a rather pleasant bass line that bleeds into the second. Entitled “How??,” this second song aims at being transcendental, and upon listening, one can actually find themselves lost within the music — if they are willing. This highlights a theme present throughout: One’s own inclination towards the melodies is dependent on his or her own effort in listening. Unless someone is eager to put forth that effort and allow themselves to experience the music as something entirely new, the album won’t have an impact on them at all. Half-glances just won’t do.

And perhaps this is where the album finds its biggest fault: that it must be dissected, it must be actively listened to, which almost makes it a chore.

Moreover, tracks like “There Should Be Unicorns” surely give the impressions of intellect, but intellect without real direction. They seem scatterbrained. They can even feel like blatant misfires. No Flaming Lips LP in the past contains near as many possible misfires as “Oczy Mlody.”

But other tracks, like “Galaxy I Sink” and “Nigdy Nie (Never No),” are phonetically pleasing. These songs don’t require effort to enjoy. They feel synthetic, sure, but in an entirely unobtrusive manner. They are pretty, for lack of better phrasing, and no one’s ever faulted a song for being pretty.

This is the Flaming Lips fans have come to know and love, the Flaming Lips that knows no boundaries but is well in tune with its genre. They aren’t indie, they aren’t alternative, they are alternative indie. They are nuanced. And nuance almost always begs the question: Are they just ahead of their time? That is, is the misunderstanding on the direction of the album a problem of the artist, or the listener?

The answer is probably the former, and here’s why: The Flaming Lips have succeeded with somewhat similar efforts in the past. Albums like “Embryonic” and “At War With The Mystics” sold well and have garnered quite the fanfare without feeling too otherworldly, too unfamiliar.

In the end, a listener consumes music to feel something that resonates with him, and it seems any effort towards resonation has been lost on this album. It’s almost too unique. If they’re ahead of anyone’s time, it is most notably their own. For this reason, the album earns a C.