Ears Wide Open: Deap Lips (The Flaming Lips + Deap Vally)

Deap Lips (Flaming Lips at Desert Daze 2019 by Josh Beavers; Deap Vally at the Fonda Theatre in 2016 by Samantha Saturday)

Psychedelic rock legends the Flaming Lips and the L.A. garage-rock duo Deap Vally have teamed up to make an album. The collaboration (and the album) is called “Deap Lips.”

The making of the album involved a period of in-person and long-distance collaboration between the principals, the Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd and Deap Vally’s Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards.

Troy explains that they met after the Lips saw Deap Vally open for Wolfmother in Raleigh, N.C., in 2016. “We became friends and asked them to collaborate with us,” says Troy, who had mentioned in 2018 that the duo had a bunch of collaborations in the works. “We flew to Oklahoma City for a week and wrote four songs. … Then Wayne and Steven kept sending us stuff to work on, and we recorded stuff in L.A. and sent back to them. It turned into a whole record.”

“Hope Hell High” is the first single, and it’s a strange and wonderful marriage of the two bands’ aesthetics — the Lips sprinkling their their synth-specked fairy dust over a seemingly sweet acoustic guitar-driven anthem. Even in her distant pop singer past, Troy has never sounded better (“Give me hope / give me hell / and get me high along the way” is particularly sublime), but the song gets its edgy Deap Vally stamp at the finish, ending with the FCC-unfriendly proclamation “It’s a motherfucker / it’s a motherfucker / Blam blam blam blam blam blam blam blam blam.” We couldn’t possibly be smiling more.

Blam indeed. “Deap Lips” is out March 13.

||| Stream: “Hope Hell High”