Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Flaming Lips - The Terror

There are very few bands who can handle the trip in the way Flaming Lips can. They don’t seem to have ever come back in fact. The Terror represents the thirteenth studio release for the band and it is just as heavy-lidded and encapsulating as anything they have released before. If anything the album is too ambient, it isn’t until the fourth track on the album that any kind of fathomable tune is identified. Up until then it feels like a lull before the big drop into the album. That song is You Lust. For a nine track album that’s a pretty wild gesture to make, even by Flaming Lips standard. The problem is the overworking of reverberation. Each track sounds as though it is being heard while dangling from a helicopter.

The Terror is a notable step away from the joyous celebration of their recent releases. Frontman Wayne Coyne has stated it is a much bleaker album, which may explain the absence of an obvious single. He described it as concerning the fear the world continues without the idea of love. The title track follows You Lust and springs a wide range of electronica. If possible The Flaming Lips have made a more experimental album than what they appeared to be settling into, an impressive feat for a band celebrating their thirtieth anniversary.

You Are Alone ambles like a nightmare Pink Floyd may have had. There is a clear feeling on desolation on the album and it’s a hard thing to break through and enjoy in any capacity when entirely sober. Butterfly (How Long It Takes To Die) is a similarly bleak track, almost attempting to be dance in places, but being pegged down by a change in stark chords.
Turning Violent almost has a repeatable lyric to its chorus but beyond that is another blunt soundscape. While everything on the album sounds rich and complex, it isn’t easy listening by any degree, but when have The Flaming Lips ever been easy to listen to. It takes a certain person and a certain state of mind to enjoy. I’m sure they will be present and correct when it comes to festival season and when it comes to their sensational stage props and hi-jynx the new songs won’t fail to disappoint but as a purely aural experience it falls slightly short of the high tide mark they previously hit.


Paul Schiernecker 

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