Starlight Mints

Starlight Mints have never quite gotten a fair shake. One could venture that's because there's only room enough for one huge psych-pop band from Norman, Oklahoma — that'd be the Flaming Lips — but it's probably more because the quirky outfit released its first three albums on three different labels, with three years between each. That doesn't make them any less charming, though, from 2000's riotously poppy debut The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of to 2003's more evolved Built on Squares and 2006 career peak Drowaton. The latter saw the band land safely on Barsuk, which is issuing change remains right on schedule next month. (It's already out digitally.) Through it all, Starlight Mints have honed a sound that's equal parts horn-punched '90s indie-rock and seedy '60s psych, with a cartoony oddness and energy worthy of the Apples in Stereo. At once nasal and androgynous, leader Allan Vest's falsetto-flirting vocals lead the way through songs that contort like a funhouse mirror, the rest of the band chiming in with vivid flourishes and a reliable sugar rush around every corner.

 
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