REVIEW: The Flaming Lips - The Terror

It was all good seven years ago.  You had someplace sunny you wanted to go and a house band to soundtrack the trip.  Wayne Coyne and his band of merry men, The Flaming Lips, believed in you and your beautiful face, and they wanted you to believe in yourself.  After all, as they insistently advised, you had the power right there in your wand, if you would only take a moment to consider what you were willing to do with that power.  If you could just remember that will always negates defeat, things would be fine…

Things have changed.

Where their 2009 masterpiece Embryonic signaled a shift away from the many happy psychedelic sermons Coyne had offered to date (and featured some of multi-instrumentalist Stephen Drozd’s most muscular, menacing work ever), The Terror is that shift made manifest.  Distant vocals portending a dark, isolated word are frequently subsumed by guitars, organs, and instruments unknown.  Sounds bleed from one song into the next, making the album easy to consume as a series of movements rather than as disparate tracks.  The effect provides a perspective that is both disorienting and disoriented, bringing sonic depth to a world where the seemingly free will is governed by unseen alien forces in the clouds and the sun is a constant that provides no warmth in its stunted, choking light.