The Flaming Lips

Plotting coordinates beyond the crossing point of light since 1993

A welcome return to the Earth's atmosphere with the release of The Flaming Lips eighteenth studio album, Oczy Mlody.  

Our colourful friends from Oklahoma are the only band in the history of the record label, Warner Bros, to fulfil their contractual obligations - a 10-album deal. (Take a peek at the Warner roster over those years and let that sink in).

Apart from one ‘hit’, the Ween tinged ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ in 93, it’s been the long road to freedom which has allowed the band to maintain, evolve, materialise and (seemingly) dematerialise.

The Flaming Lips Live

Like Punk songs, I like my blogs short. Therefore, there’s no time to deep-dive into the Lips' wonderfully extensive multi-verse masquerading as a brave back-catalogue, one which first winked in my direction when the priest was driving the ambulance.

James Joyce, the Irish visionary, claimed he had never met a boring person in his life. In other words; within everyone is a unique spark, (the quantum world brought to bear on the so-called ordinary). The Flaming Lips imbue everything with a Joycean twist despite thirty-four years of working within the music industry. They have overcome personnel changes (the challenge most bands can’t live up to is replacing energies rather than musicianship), the scars of addiction and doing the same job for 34 years. 

In the theatre of the Lip-sian dream, sound checks are not mind-numbing monotony drills but opportunities for an art installation

Colour, balloon, costume and sound check rather than just organisation of sound frequency! From album/ art-work/ concept to gig as gigabyte, this band do not subcontract their world to the marketers of the music industry.

Every opportunity is taken to create art.

See the world with Oczy Mlody and it all makes sense.  Polish for ’eyes of the young’, the new LP is a suitably flourescent-delik return from Wayne Coyne’s merry pranksters. New song, ‘How??’ grapples with quantum determinism (determined not be to determined). A cosmic manual disguised as a pop song; energy information sending melodies of immortal revolutionary paeans into the void declaring the menu is not the meal, the map is not the territory. The short film for ‘How??’ is  one of the best in the history of the pop video. 

The Flaming Lips Live

Bands and their fans must, at times, lose their union along the way, it’s a critically important part of the process of unfolding. My lips briefly stopped flaming during the Yoshimi Tour when the band made comments from the stage about the Gulf War (second one; maybe the first one didn’t kill enough civilians?). It was all a bit too Uncle Sam for me.  I couldn’t reconcile that vibe with the centrality of a quantum universe rooted in love, as the primary energy creating everything else, as brilliantly defined on ‘Soft Bulletin’, one of the most charismatic, moving, psychedelic long-player hymns ever made.

A band who started out revving a motorbike on stage; exhaust omissions - no ventilation, but heart in the right place. In a world run by those without one, I side with the band.

The Flaming Lips have much in common with legendary Krautrocker's Can

Both bands share a blue-print rooted in the imagination rather than musical formula, both groups out-lived any association with a ‘scene’ whilst seeking to create musical expressionism, free from the constraints of expectation and commercial aspirations. 

Until the next time I’m a voice in your head, enjoy the 0.01% of the total light spectrum humans can apparently perceive and make the most of making it all up. No point being the author of the universe and reading someone else’s book. 

 

Peace and Love.

Colour Is Sound.

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