The Flaming Lips have been making arty rock for nearly four decades, and over time the Oklahoma City-based group has become known for unusual collaborations, from pop star Miley Cyrus to the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Now, the band’s frontman Wayne Coyne and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd have teamed with Deap Vally, a Los Angeles guitar-and-drum duo. The project is called Deap Lips, and its debut album is simply titled Blam.
Deap Lips wrote and recorded the record months before the world was sent home to practice social distancing, but the opening track “Home Thru Hell” sounds tailor-made for the uncertain time we’re living through, with references to stocking the larder and images of birds of prey flying over desolate highways.
Known for a sprawling musical palette and boundless creativity, Coyne and Drozd are masters of obscuring melody in waves of instrumentation and unexpected noises. Deap Vally is practically at the other end of the sonic spectrum: Its spartan, raunchy garage-glam is powered by Julie Edwards’ splashy drums and singer and guitarist Lindsay Troy’s sardonic growl. But the collaboration finds common ground in both dissonance and melodic tendencies. In songs like “Hope Hell High,” gently mottled soundscapes give Troy a place for the lush notes in her voice to bloom.
This Deap Lips debut is beautiful and chaotic, a psychedelic dream with jagged edges. Its ethereal sounds are punctuated with expressive expletives that are not safe for work. But if you’re sheltering at home, as many of us are, it’s a perfect listen. Alternately meditative and jarring, with contemplative moments followed by calls to action, it’s an interstellar excursion for your mind to embark upon while the rest of your body is under quarantine.