The Flaming Lips - The Terror

In space, no one can hear you dream

With their Heady Fwends
project, The Flaming Lips
opened their studio to all-comers,
from Nick Cave to
Yoko Ono and Ke$ha, for
a mish-mash of a collaboration
that stands in stark contrast to
this album proper. Off the
back of the Fwends sessions,
exhausted in the early hours
of the morning, the Lips
retreated into their studio –
and themselves – for a very
different, meditative beast.

The Terror descends upon
the listener as a doomy
patchwork of drones, grooves
and chants, airborne non-melodies
and snatches of
musique concrète. As
frontman Wayne Coyne notes,
it’s a “completely self-indulgent”
attempt to capture
“every sound, every word as it
happened in this
‘sleepwalker’s dimension’”.
Fittingly, the results are, at
times, as ethereal as such
a dream state. One listen can
follow another with precious
little to grab onto; and while
there’s an allure that keeps
drawing you back in the hope
of parsing something new,
ultimately, little sticks in the
mind for long.

The Lips’ idiosyncratic take
on death and paranoia was
given universal appeal with
2002’s Yoshimi Battles The
Pink Robots; despite its
expansive sound, The Terror
isn’t as inviting. There’s nothing
to dislike about their creeping
dread, but it’s hard to engage
with it. 

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Bella Union | BELLACD 388 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Jason Draper
<< Back to Issue 413