The Flaming Lips

The Terror

(WARNER BROS.)

Apr 11, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix Bookmark and Share


"There’s a little spaceship/Hiding in the clouds/You want it to love you/Its peaceful voice is loud.” The opening line of The Terror could describe The Flaming Lips themselves as they prepare to land with an unsettling new mission.

Lyrically, if the band hadn’t thought to call the album The Terror it might have been strongly suggested by someone else. At times, Wayne Coyne vocally positions himself somewhere between wary confidant and analyst, giving the impression that either the band came into this venture needing to get something off their collective chest or that perhaps you needed that unburdening, or maybe both.

“You Lust” goes straight to a bare nerve and puts a finger on it. “You’ve got a lot of nerve/A lot of nerve to fuck with me/Better kill your emperor/’Cause you know you’re just like me.” The music is as grey as its words, a synth-driven theme that meanders long enough to begin wearing out its welcome before morphing into an odd bit of minimalism for the last of its 13 minutes.

Follow each line closely and the record could understandably be seen as bummer machine. It’s almost relentlessly bleak, but taken as a whole, the overall experience can be intriguing. “You Are Alone” moves like a darker Kraftwerk, and as “Butterfly” adds early-PiL edges, the effect is akin to anti-Flaming Lips—like a photo negative of their usual major chords and affability. Heading deeper with “Turning Violent,” with Throbbing Gristle-type industrial grind applied to a bruise-black melody, there seems to be nowhere to go but up. Or to start the record over, now that you’ve gotten over the initial shock, to see how you really feel about it. (www.flaminglips.com)

 

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