We review The Flaming Lips’ latest
By Jacey Gibb, Assistant Editor
Bands with considerable discographies tend to fall under one of two categories: either they found their sound years ago and are now just going through the motions at this point, or they treat time like a lesson and never cease to grow with each passing release. Luckily for us, The Flaming Lips belong to the latter category.
By album number 13, titled The Terror (released April 16), you’d think a band would be running on empty, creativity-wise—drawing upon innovative fumes and churning out subpar material. But with each album, the Lips manage to add another layer to their extensive arsenal of sound. “Look…the sun is rising,” the first track on the LP, contains all the traits of a signature Lips song: droney fuzz rock, with elements of psychedelic thrown in for spark. The track, which was also the first song released to the public, acts as a foreshadower of what’s to come—but the delivery is dead on arrival.
After a decade of loving the Lips, The Terror was the first album I found myself being disappointed with. It’s a lot softer than some of their more recent pieces, which demonstrates their ability to branch out from their signature sound, but it’s almost too soft. Instead of a group of songs meant to feel like your brain is exploding (looking at you, 2009’s Embryonic), I felt myself dozing off to a sleepy, slower array.
I could see The Terror working as a good soundtrack to fall asleep to, or maybe as background music while you look at the night sky and try to distinguish satellites from flying saucers, but as a standalone Flaming Lips’ album, it’s disappointing.