Perhaps it's because the Starlight Mints hail from Norman, Oklahoma, that the funtastic pop quintet is frequently compared to Norman homeboys the Flaming Lips. In any case, the Mints' members are more like second or third cousins than siblings to the Lips' psychedelic sound. We'd do better to compare them to a blippy, bleepy hybrid of Pavement, the Violent Femmes and the Kinks. The difference is that the Flaming Lips offer opportunities to genuflect a bit but never to headbang, whereas failing to coordinate neck jolting with the Mints' clean rhythms would require some sort of restrictive brace. The outfit's first album, The Dreams That Stuff Was Made Of
, offers honest-to-God anthems with catchy refrains that sound happy even when they aren't. The newest album, Built on Squares
, takes on a more sci-fi quality, what with the references to hot Martian girls and all. Given its tendency to rock, the band's music doesn't sound like it would rely on a cello, though rely on a cello it does -- and making sense of that
is as good a reason as any to catch the Mints live.