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What does a Flaming Lips album written and recorded in a matter of days sound like circa 2013? Pretty much as one would expect: loose, psychedelic, jam-heavy, and LOUD! For all the complaints leveled at the Lips for jacking up the volume and compression on their albums to insanity-inducing levels, I can now relate. Due to some glass-shattering high-notes from singer Wayne Coyne, I had to reach for the volume knob a couple of times to save my eardrums. But, that was all expected.

Now the wildcards: (1) the dark lyrical content — gone are the sunny days of Yoshimi and “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.” The Flaming Lips circa 2013 are more likely to drench a crowd in blood than confetti; (2) the electronic Krautrock-style rhythmic pulses that anchor nearly every track make Embryonic — the Lips’ previous loose, psychedelic, jam-heavy, LOUD album — seem like a trip to Disneyland.

The band seems to have entered a phase in which they are more motivated by spontaneous jams and grooves than they have ever been. They are living Pink Floyd’s career in reverse, and I don’t know if this is the best trajectory. If I was to sum up The Terror, I would say none of the songs are that memorable, but the album as a whole is indelible. And to hammer that point home, the band includes the collection as one long track at the end of the digital download. A single track as well conceived as “What Is the Light?” would have sufficed.

  • Album: The Terror
  • Artist: Flaming Lips
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • Songs: (1) Look...the Sun Rising (2) Be Free, A Way (3) Try To Explain (4) You Lust (5) The Terror (6) You Are Alone (7) Butterfly, How Long It Takes to Die (8) Turning Violent (9) Always There, in Our Hearts
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