Local Wire

Starlight Mints

One day, perhaps, Oklahoma psych-pop ensemble Starlight Mints will finally escape the long shadow cast by fellow Okie weird-rockers The Flaming Lips. But that day isn't coming anytime soon. The gratuitous use of the word "jelly" — echoing the Lips' breakthrough "She Don't Use Jelly" — in "Zoomba," one of the more striking tracks on Starlight Mint's new full-length, Change Remains, probably doesn't help the cause. Nor does singer-guitarist Allan Vest's high, quirky voice, his surreal lyrics, or his interest in orchestral-flavored arrangements and everything-including-the-kitchen-and-bathroom-sink sonic experimentation. Despite all that, however, the Mints have crafted compelling material since forming in the late '90s. It's a body of work full of rich melodies and harmonies and songs that shouldn't work (because of their odd, disparate parts) but do. Like the Lips, Starlight Mints can be awful sweet sometimes, but occasionally there's darkness — or downright creepiness — to their music that helps set them apart. In a live setting, the two acts couldn't be more different — no giant hamster balls, spaceships, or dancing Santas for the Mints, just good tunes.
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Michael Alan Goldberg