Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Starlight Mints "Drowaton"´[iTunes Link]

Just what do they put in the water in Oklahoma? Like hometown heroes The Flaming Lips, The Starlight Mints continue to push their agenda for sweeping orchestral psych-rock, lyrical mumbo-jumbo, and eye-boggling cover art involving really big balls on their third album. Oddly enough, they sound less like Wayne Coyne and company than early progenitors of the oddball pop genre such as the Beatles and The Kinks. Not a second of Drowaton ("not a word" backwards, although we have no idea why) is sacrificed to silence as every crevice is stuffed with an odd tambourine, flugelhorn, or blast of vintage piano. Ultimately, however, this a guitar record, as best evidenced in more discriminatingly produced cuts such as "Eyes of the Night" and the nearly sincere "What's Inside of Me."

Their love of archetypal pop and AM radio has provided, over the course of two acclaimed albums, a rock-solid foundation for a whole bunch of inspired unusualness, all baked to perfection under the hot Oklahoman sun. Their unique brand of instrumentally complex, surrealistically worded pop contains a blend of classic string arrangements, cheeky boyish vocals, catchy melody, and ornate surrealism. You might call it bubblegum psych. Church bells, horns, piano, violin, tambourine, triangle, synths, and sound effects complement the usual suspects of guitar, bass, and drums to paint a broad sonic palate.

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