sat 25/03/2017

CD: The Flaming Lips - The Terror | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Flaming Lips - The Terror

CD: The Flaming Lips - The Terror

American psych-rockers' latest is dark and strange but rewarding

Unlike so many bands who simply adopt psychedelia as a sonic style, the Flaming Lips understand the psychedelic mindset
The Flaming Lips head out to where things get hazy

“That’s the sad thing today,” said Martin Gore of Depeche Mode in the Guardian last Friday, “Most people who get involved in music are so normal. It’s supposed to be full of weirdos.” What’s great about the Flaming Lips, whatever your opinion of the sound they make, is that they are a major league indie-rock band who truly are weirdos.

Led by the maverick Wayne Coyne, renowned for wandering across his audiences in a giant transparent bubble, they are both imaginative and unpredictable. Unlike so many bands who simply adopt psychedelia as a sonic style, they understand the psychedelic mindset, revelling in the unlikelihood of having Ke$ha and Erykah Badu sing on their last album or embracing bizarre non-commercial projects such as re-recording albums by King Crimson or Pink Floyd, just for the sheer hell of it.

With their roots in the most lysergic regions of the mid-Eighties US underground, the Oklahoma quintet once again embrace the abnormal on their thirteenth album. Their best-loved output fuses space-rock with a rich understanding of Sixties pop and classic harmonies. The Terror, as its title may suggest, doesn’t bother with such sweeteners. From the off, it’s all about distortion and a head-frying twitchiness, many of the songs underpinned by an ominous throb that sounds like helicopter rotors whomping away in some lost beyond.

Each track segues into the next in a smeared, disorientating way and, while some sweet falsetto vocals occasionally pop up, as on the cosmic ballad “Try to Explain” (which sounds like the Beach Boys teleported into the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey), there are more in the vein of “You Lust” with its 14 minutes of soupy sinister pulsation. Deliberately not immediate, it’s an album that creaks at the fringes with dissonance and clanky electronic ominousness, having more in common with Hawkwind at their doomiest than, say Beck, Spiritualized, Animal Collective or any number of other acts who could be perceived as the band's peers.


Watch Flaming Lips' medley of The Terror, replete with visuals

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