Starlight Mints Built On Squares

There must be something in Oklahoma’s groundwater supply. From the small and unassuming corner of the world that spawned everyone’s favourite psych-pop masters, the Flaming Lips, comes a similar musical ensemble fuelled by eccentricity and crazed genius. On the Starlight Mints’ third full-length, they’ve fused orchestral pop, surreal lyrics, synths, Latin-inspired guitars and beats, humour, and Americana in such a seamless way that the disparate elements never feel forced together. The end results are simply catchy, energetic nuggets of sonic refreshment for parched ears; it’s only when you step back and pick apart the pieces that you realise the parts "shouldn’t” go together. The Lips are the Mints’ closest cousins in terms of a genre-bashing approach mashed with pop sensibility, yet it really would be an insult to compare either of these original and creative groups to anyone else (even each other). That said, and just in order to provide some sort of touchstones, you should expect at various points on the album moments of poppier Cure, XTC, Bowie, Los Mutantes, and even some bubblegum à la the Monkees. This really is a summertime treat not to be missed. (PIAS)