The Flaming Lips - The Terror Album Review

The Flaming Lips The Terror Album

Review of The Terror Album by The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips thirteenth studio offering is a difficult album in every sense of the word: difficult to love, difficult to decipher, and difficult to listen to. Perhaps it's the absence of traditional song writing in favour of space age ambience that makes the experience so unsettling. While it would be unfair to expect Wayne Coyne and co to re-tread past glories, there's always been a sense of underlying fun to their brand of psychedelic wackiness. The Terror, as its name suggests, jettisons any sense of fun leaving a bleak soundscape which is sure to divide fans.

While there is artistic merit here, it's a record that becomes so self-involved in the intricacies of the noises that phase in and out of your headphones, that Coyne's distorted and repetitive vocals get pushed to the back of the mix. Although he's not really saying much to enlighten the whole experience, it's rather disconcerting that his contribution seems to be somewhat of an afterthought. The root of all this sprawling introspection and gloom seems to lie in the genesis of the project itself. Primarily recorded at the same time as previous collaborative effort Heady Fwends, but in a separate studio, the band used their downtime to create material completely at odds with their main project. That led to a rejection of traditional chord progressions and structures, which more closely embraced their psychedelic roots.

Depending on how far you want to dig into the lyrics, there are loose themes unifying the material here. It's trying to raise the question of how to face a world without love while time marches on. Coyne's lyrical fascination with the sun and heavens ('Look. The Sun Is Rising') seems more ominous than hopeful as the new dawn brings new problems. However, the highbrow nature of the themes also serves to distance the listener. While many of The Flaming Lips' previous records have worked as concept albums, individual songs have also been able to stand on their own. Yet The Terror is such a dense soup of sounds and ideas that the unconventional nature of the tracks makes it almost impossible to separate them from the whole experience.

Taken as a space age opera of sorts, The Terror's sprawling and often mechanical musical heartbeat is an interesting experiment in minimalism. But its few endearing qualities are somewhat overshadowed by the knowledge that this doesn't appear to be a stepping stone to the next evolution of The Flaming Lips. It feels rather more like a self-indulgent musical detour that we maybe didn't need to take. When bands like Radiohead started to play with obscure sounds and percussion it's because they wanted to redefine themselves. In The Flaming Lips' case it sounds more like they were bored and were looking for an aural holiday from their day jobs.

So be warned, The Terror is a curiosity for the faithful, but really doesn't offer anything of note for those unwilling to sit through nearly an hour of ambience and weirdness. While it may be seen as a direct reaction to the critical and commercial success The Flaming Lips have garnered over the last 15 years, it would be surprising if it ends up as being any more than a footnote in their history.

Jim Pusey




Official Site - http://www.flaminglips.com


Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Middle Earth is Ravaged By War in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies' [Trailer + Pictures]

As promised by the release of Smaug from Eribor, war has descended...

Middle Earth is Ravaged By War in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies' [Trailer + Pictures]

The Expendables 3 Trailer

The cast of 'The Expendables 3' discuss the upcoming action film in a short featurette. Among them are...

The Expendables 3 Trailer

Comic-Con Excites Once Again: Here Are The Highlights

The San Diego Comic-Con is one of the biggest events of the popular arts calendar and rarely fails to...

Comic-Con Excites Once Again: Here Are The Highlights

Jimi: All Is By My Side Trailer

Jimi Hendrix started earning money from his musical career as a simple backing guitarist at the...

Jimi: All Is By My Side Trailer

Ten Of The Best Quentin Tarantino Movie Soundtrack Songs

In Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has managed to assemble another top draw...

Ten Of The Best Quentin Tarantino Movie Soundtrack Songs

Tusk - Trailer

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) has a job that most could only dream of. He spends his working days travelling...

Tusk Trailer
Advertisement

Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Quentin Tarantino seems to have had a change of heart against the individuals...

 Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

A group of young women from Philadelphia that founded a website titled...

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year

Excited fans first heard the news that former 'That 70's Show' co-stars...

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year


More recommendations

Advertisement

Comments

Flaming Lips Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Flaming Lips

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All