The Flaming Lips
The latest from Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips, their 13th album to date, relates to listeners a strong pre-occupation with death, fear, and the sun – and fearing death caused by the absence of the sun. As the story on The Terror swizzlingly unfolds over the course of songs ranging from just under four minutes in length to just over 13, it becomes apparent that the sun is a metaphor for love. That in itself is not that profound, but what’s impressive is just how realistically the group can play to these emotions. Crunchy industrial beats and relentlessly scratched guitar chords growing in constant crescendo do a more than fair job of conveying this eponymous “terror”.
It’s threatening and unsettling and capable of creating an indelible sense of isolation. Remember Ozymandias’ Antarctic retreat in The Watchmen? Where he contemplated the powers at work inside the superhuman known as Dr. Manhattan? The music on The Terror sounds like that. When they were debuting many of these new tracks before a record-breaking crowd at SXSW earlier in March, following “You Are Alone”, Coyne rhetorically asked the crowd, “I’m not alone, am I?”. Of course he knew he was situated on a massive stage covered in shiny metal spheres and whirling lights before a crowd of thousands of people (at least, I’m pretty sure he knew that’s where he was) – but I got it. If you listen closely enough to these mesmerizing tunes, it’s not unusual for you to feel a little lonely.
Listen: “Look… The Sun Is Rising”, “Try To Explain” || Watch: The Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize??”