THE FLAMING LIPS
THE TERROR (Bella Union)
The Flaming Lips were never the easiest of bands to like; overcoming the disparity between Wayne Coyne’s reedy voice and faux-naif lyrical platitudes and the faux-messianic appropriation of pseudo-religious iconography on stage was always difficult. Then there were the conceptual statements couched as albums – ‘look it’s a 24 hour song that comes in a skull shaped USB stick!’ Then there were the post-psych period records, albums content with flitting between over-egged bug-eyed acoustic enthusiasm and ill-advised semi-psychedelic-sorta-funk.
With the kind of biographical information that Coyne’s been dishing out in the interviews that surround The Terror’s release – he’s recently separated from his long term partner and begun experimenting semi-heavily with drugs – it’s a surprise just how solid this album is. Yes it’s lengthy. Yes, it’s engorged to the point of self-satisfaction with a desire to extend riffs, melodies, hooks, groove … Yes, it’s stoned beyond belief. But it’s genuinely great. It spawls and undulates; thick washes of synths burble like vintage Tangerine Dream, Krauty chords stab in and out of the mix, Coyne’s voice is mercifully utilized as just another layer in the proggy labyrinth. It’s a record that’s inviting and enveloping – inviting enough sonically that it can support the 13 minute wandering of You Lust or the 8 clanking minutes of the Esquivel-gone-psyche Butterfly, How Long It Takes to Die, enveloping enough atmospherically for the listener to sink into its dank-drenched depths.
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Words: Josh Baines