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Reviewed: Flaming Lips – The Terror


by Caleb Nichols

Approach is everything. That’s what one should keep in mind when diving into the latest record by Oklahoma City’s fearless freaks, the Flaming Lips. The Terror, the Lips’ thirteenth studio album, is a chameleon of an album which offers a radically different listen on every spin.

My first listen was on a quick sprint up the 280 to San Francisco — the sun was setting as the first alien pulses of opener “Look…The Sun Is Rising” filled my car with panic-inducing immediacy. That first listen nearly scared me off completely; it seemed like The Terror was a beautifully-textured, sonic meditation on death anxiety (an idea that appeals to me, but not one that begs for repeat listens).

I gave the record a break and came back to it two weeks later, while doing the dishes, and found to my delight that I was listening to a completely different record — meditations on fear, yes, but also a treatise on life and rhythm and ultimately the cosmos; a kraut-rock marathon of always twitching, beating, oscillating, moving sound.

Though The Terror is short on song-craft (even fewer discernible “songs” than predecessor Embryonic), the album is packed with everything else one would expect from the Lips: colorful freak-outs, heavy drums and of course plenty of existential questions and answers from frontman Wayne Coyne.

For fans of Can, Neu! and perhaps even Panda Bear.

Watch the Flaming Lips perform “Look…The Sun Is Rising” on David Letterman:

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