The Flaming Lips - The Terror (Bella Union/ Warner Bros.)

The Flaming Lips – The Terror (Bella Union/ Warner Bros.)

Casting a wistfully forlorn gaze into the ether on their 13th (not so much unlucky as uneasy) album, Oklahoma’s favorite psychedelic sons orbit a darker, more introspective, world than usual.

The Zombies marooned above Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, The Terror is a dilatory soundtrack of unidentified machine-generated background noise, placable ambience and cooed harmonies, played out across desolate expanses.

After 30 years in the business of producing art, The Flaming Lips are in a reflective state of flux, their inimitable frontman and megaphone Wayne Coyne, grappling with issues of control, or as he’s alluded to in recent interviews, the ‘illusion of control’. Navigated by events, decisions and the choices of others, Coyne meditates: “Do you want control? Do we really have control?”

Last year’s collaborative benchmark, The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends occasionally fell into romanticised Kosmiche despair, and this new plaintive inward exploration continues to mine that same sonic palette.

An oscillating electric field of strange factory floor apparatus and vaporous vocals usher in the opening ‘Look…The Rising Sun’, and continue in a similar fashion, right up to the anvil bashing caustic ‘Always There…In Our Hearts’.

Those wishing to bask in the halcyon euphoric swells and glow of the band’s past glories should be warned, as the melody and beats are stripped away in favour of lingering resonance and static-charged vibrations.

A little indulgent if not even boring in places, the space-y vibe passages seep or bleed into each other to create one long cinematic lunar hymn. Drifting amorphously whilst offering comforting assurances about ‘love’, ‘belief’ and healing nature of the ‘sun’, the Lips’ Sci-Fi kaleidoscope adventure seeks solace beyond the void, but is left wanton.

Released 1st April 2013


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