The Flaming Lips

Onboard the International Space Station: Concert for Peace

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Initially released on 2017's Record Store Day, Onboard the International Space Station Concert for Peace is another Flaming Lips project that contains a surprising amount of depth despite its zany concept. Featuring a handful of songs from Oczy Mlody reimagined as the band's set from a fictional concert in outer space, the EP unites the Flaming Lips' fondness for reinterpreting their music as well as their flair for using artistic license in pursuit of a larger truth. If -- or should that be when? -- it's possible, the Flaming Lips would surely headline an interstellar Coachella; it's a fantasy that's truer than reality, a concept that's vital in all of their music and especially in Oczy Mlody's cautionary fairy tales. Somehow, the artifice of Onboard the International Space Station Concert for Peace peels away some of that album's wackiness, making the poignancy of these songs clearer. "How??" resonates even more deeply as an anthem for a time when little seems to make sense, while the melodic beauty of "Listening to the Frogs with Demon Eyes" and the bittersweet defiance of "Nigdy Nie" are more radiant here than on the original album. Elsewhere, the lengthy version of "There Should Be Unicorns" -- complete with vocoder solo -- is a bit excessive but a totally believable festival moment, as is the Miley Cyrus duet "We a Family," whose group-hug sentiments make more sense in this context. Indeed, Onboard the International Space Station Concert for Peace is so driven by the heart that it manages to be more than just a supplement to the album that spawned it.

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