Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Album review: THE FLAMING LIPS - The Terror

Highlights: Be Free, A Way, Try To Explain, Butterfly (How Long It Takes To Die”), Turning Violent

I guess if I really wanted to be mean to The Flaming Lips’ latest, I’d suggest putting on Soft Bulletin once this thing is over. Because suddenly you will notice that you can be all dreamy and soft and psychedelic and still offer amazing songwriting. Good melodies, you know. Hooks. Substance. And it’s not like The Terror lacks any of those things (the supply is slightly disappointing, however), but somehow one gets the feeling that this long and moody album could do with a little more inspiration.

However, my overall attitude is hardly too negative. The album sets the mood (which is rather inviting, but in a cheerless sort of way) and never lets go, which makes listening to The Terror a wholesome and quite engrossing experience. So that even if there’s precious little going on in the 13-minute and frankly not very eventful “You Lust”, you at least know what they were going for here. Whether you agree with that is a different matter, but you have to admit that that is a well-sustained, reluctantly mesmerising drone. However, if we try to be objective here, we’ll have to grudgingly admit that only a fan or a person who’s heavily into dreams and with lots of free time on his hands would meditative himself into loving this stuff. Having said that, I felt drawn to the exquisite, slow melodies of “Be Free, A Way” and particularly “Try To Explain”. But what do I do with a track like “You Are Alone”? You can’t go by atmosphere alone.  

And still. What you absolutely can’t deny is that these guys still have class and in many ways they did achieve what they wanted with The Terror: a beautiful, atmospheric record filtered through misery, depression and, well, terror. Sounds lovely, and will probably get better with further listens. But all the same – Embryonic was a stronger, bolder, better album.


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