The Flaming Lips

The Terror

Written by: BV on 06/04/2013 12:48:44

The Flaming Lips are back and their outlook on life has taken a turn for the worse. The once so bubbly and bright-sounding experimental/psych rockers are embracing the darker and vastly more pessimistic outlook on life, on their 13th studio album “The Terror” – basically the album translates into a state of mind that goes a little like this: The party is over, please get the fuck out. It’s not all bad though as the album contains some of the finer synth-drones I have heard in quite some time, but I’ll get into that later on.

“Look… The Sun Is Rising” is the opening track of the album, but don’t let the title fool you – there is nothing optimistic to be heard on this particular track, as the droning and eerie soundscape – as well as the repetitive ‘drilling’ noises and buzzes are vastly reminiscent of something like a soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie. The low-key vocals convey little emotion but supplement the soundscape spectacularly as they convey the same state of mind as the rest of the slightly robotic soundscape. “Be Free, A Way” follows immediately after and is already a refreshing change of pace from the onslaught of the robotic synth-droning of “Look… The Sun Is Rising”, since the vocals are delivered in a slightly more chanting, echoing style than on the previous track. The soundscape however, is still vastly synth-dominated and drones away like there’s no tomorrow. At this point however, I am already feeling quite bummed out due to the sheer lack of optimism to be found on this album. – It is, in all essence, the manifestation of a bad trip for The Flaming Lips and they seem hell-bent on sharing this rollercoaster ride of bleak future prospects with the listeners.

Album long-runner and centerpiece “You Lust” clocks in at approximately 13 minutes – 13 minutes where the droning is so repetitive that I, as a drone-lover, felt compelled to just skip to the next track numerous times. In the end though, I am glad I didn’t because the eerie vocal chanting section at the nine-minute mark is absolutely dreamy in terms of the creation of a grand, flowing soundscape and as such, I am somewhat glad I stuck out the wait. Nonetheless though, I feel compelled to say that, when you choose to include a long-runner like “You Lust”, you’d better make sure there’s some development going on in the track on a regular basis – if not, you’re begging your listeners to skip to the next track as most listeners these days tend to be fueled by ADD, as if they are not capable of enduring a long track like this one – at least not if they are sober, that is.

Closing track “Always There In Our Hearts” is a classic build up drone in the sense that the first two minutes (of four) are spent intensifying the soundscape gradually, with varying instrumental additions here and there – for example the intensifying of the drumming around the 2:15 mark. However, like many of the other tracks on this album I feel like it keeps building up, never offering a proper climax or release, just amassing to a let-down in the end. Given the darker and, well, ‘hopeless’ theme of the album I would suspect that this is quite intentional, but I still maintain that it isn’t working – for me, at least.

The Flaming Lips have come a long way since I first heard of them – unfortunately, they have taken a turn into a sonic territory where I no longer find myself entire capable, nor willing to follow them.

Download: You Lust, The Terror, Turning Violent
For The Fans Of: Embryo-sounding The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, Mercury Rev

Release Date 16.04.2013
Bella Union


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