The Flaming Lips

The Terror

BY Stephen CarlickPublished Apr 12, 2013

Just a few weeks ago, when Wayne Coyne posted an abridged medley of songs from The Terror to the Flaming Lips' website, he also posted a long album manifesto. "The Terror is, we know now, that even without love, life goes on… we just go on… there is no mercy killing." He also wrote, a little more directly, that "The Terror is NOT fun…" He's right, but that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. If 2009's Embryonic expressed a long moment of chaos and destruction, The Terror is something like the immediate emotional aftermath — the damage has been done, but there's still no plan for rebuilding. This purgatorial state is conveyed via a collection of nine songs, beginning with "Look... The Sun is Rising," the most kinetic track on the album. "Look" churns and garbles like a radio transmission propelled by thundering drums and a wispy, falsetto vocal take from Coyne that turns into the haunting drones of "Be Free, A Way" and "Try To Explain," the latter of which attempts meagrely to summon hope via an uplifting chorus. However, the Neu!-inspired "You Lust" douses that flicker with 13 (mesmerizing) minutes of slow grooves and the whispered refrain of, "You lust to succeed." There's a metallic sheen to the production that's evocative of Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity, giving The Terror a technological, futuristic feeling that looms ominously over Coyne's gentle tenor throughout, making him sound even more human and small by contrast. At turns noisy, wistful and dark, The Terror is a beguiling record that's as beautiful as it is frightening.

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