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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 1 April 2013
'The Terror' looks set to be something of a polarising album for The Flaming Lips. Fans gathered up in the wake of 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots' and 'At War With The Mystics' who have been frustrated or confused by the band's recent freefall to their more experimental and roaming roots will likely find little to love here. Indeed on first listen 'The Terror' is a little bewildering; all chilly krautrock and barely audible lyrics that sound more like mantras than narrative verse. 'The Terror' is a leap further into the distance than either 'Embryonic' or 'Heady Fwends' were.

Here it sounds as though Yoshimi lost the battle with the pink robots. Wilco sang that Hell is chrome. The Flaming Lips seem to be evoking that image on 'The Terror'. It's a disquieting, utterly beautiful place to visit.

This is quite pointedly the bleakest Flaming Lips album in memory. Something seems to be deeply wrong in Wayne Coyne's rainbow universe for this to be the by-product. They've made songs about death and evil many many times before, but usually balanced against chirpy upbeat melodies. There is no such relief here. All is uncertainty and fear.

However... it's sublime. Give it time and your attention and 'The Terror' reveals itself. No, it's not a singles album, but it is a remarkably cohesive set more focused on texture and mood. This is a set to be listened to in its entirety, not dipped in and out of. Like the best albums it works as a whole (tellingly, the deluxe download edition even includes a version without track stops). Recently the band were involved in a cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. That album is recalled here. 'The Terror' is a song cycle and in that sense harks back lovingly to the concept albums of the 70s.

On these terms it is a revelation and one of their best works, one which demands your full attention. Sure it sounds light years away from the crowd-pleasing pop songs of 'The Soft Bulletin' or 'Clouds Taste Metallic', but get to know it and 'The Terror' offers as much reward as their more beloved pop records. As blissful as it is disturbing.
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on 5 April 2013
Like the last reviewer I am a bit surprised at some of the reactions to this album. It's a bit like someone complaining that Dylan's gone electric in 2013. The Flaming Lips' last two albums, Embryonic and Heady Fwiends were ambitious and sometimes challenging. In fact the latter of the two is still some way off making it's way into my regular listening pile.. This on the other hand had an instant appeal for me which took me quite by surprise. I put it on expecting and album which would be a challenge (albeit a pleasant one) and what I got was some of the most beautiful music I have heard for a long time. Yes, it's a bit dark but Berlin is my favourite Lou Reed album so that is no problem for me :)
"Be Free, A Way" and "Try To Explain" are simply stunning. Melodic, lyrically interesting as ever and enshrouded in arrangements which throw up something new each time I listen. Definite additions to my list of top Lips tracks. The rest of the album is still sinking in in a very enjoyable way.
Another fantastic addition to the Lips catalogue. Lyrically darker than anything they have done but to my mind musically much gentler and melodic than anything they have done for quite a while too.
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on 4 April 2013
Prophesies that this is a polarising album are borne out by the reviews to date which are of the 5 or 1 star variety only. While I can see (if vehemently disagree) why some people hate, eg, "Trout Mask Replica" or Coltrane's "Ascension", I am truly bewildered at the contempt by long-term Lips listeners. "The Terror" is still the work of the same group who made "Yoshimi", albeit with different production techniques. It is a textured, transcendental and often beautiful album (witness the surge of sound which ushers in "Be Free, A Way" and the interplay between the percussive sounds and the sweep of synth). Even the most obviously challenging song, the 13 minute "You Lust", is bewitching and almost as good as the fantastic "Machine Gun" by Portishead to which it pays a singular debt.

Throughout, Wayne Coyne is is fine, if fragile and high-pitched voice although, sad to say, the lyrics are as disappointing as those on "Embryonic" given his unique observational and expressive skills best deployed on "Zaireeka", "the Soft Bulletin" and "Yoshimi" itself. This caveat aside, this is an excellent album and confirms there is more mileage in one of the most intriguing journeys in modern music
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on 5 April 2013
Lifelong Lips fan and owner of the full catalogue, and somewhat surprised by the low votes on this one. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

A quick word on that. Anyone who heard Embryonic, Heady Fwendz and the various other one off vids the band put out in the last year or two should surely have seen the direction they were taking. This is no departure. Yes, it's wildly different from Yoshimi and Mystics, but THEY were the departures from the norm.

The Terror for me shares much with Zaireeka, and it's sibling, The Soft Bulletin - both sonically and in the themes it covers (fear, breakdown, loss). In fact on some tracks, the similarities are quite striking I found. Last year the band performed a series of special shows in which they performed the whole of Bulletin, including some tracks they had never performed live before. That album was recorded at an important time for the band, and is linked to some painful memories. In some performances, Wayne Coyne was visibly distressed and tearful on stage. Could those performances have influenced The Terror?

It's a stark album and chilling, but many Lips albums carry that theme. Yet within that, there is the usual warmth of sound. It's also a sonic challenge and full of experimentation, but again, that is what the Lips do best.

If your idea of the Flaming Lips is 'Mystics', coupled with a range of comedy videos, then this will strike you as odd. But listen to the whole canon and you will see exactly how this fits.

For me this is an important and relevant Lips album that deserves much listening.
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on 25 December 2013
Lay your cards down early. Those seeking or wanting The Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi mark II will, again, and at best, be disappointed for The Terror runs with Embryonic's weirder and more experimental elements and then some. That's not to say that fans of those records won't enjoy The Terror, but they may have to work to do so for there are no commercial takeaways, little respite from Commander Coyne's intergalactic vision.

As one hand repulses though so does the second beckon you forward. Amidst bubbling melancholy, multi-masking effects and dreary drones lie snippets and fragments of fragile beauty erupting like the first beams of daybreak. Coyne is on mute form too, perhaps the product of his recent marital failing, but musically he still makes the most of it, floating on lush synth-play while simultaneously being tormented by fizzy static and harsh, almost kraut-like drive.

Dark, its tracks largely segueing into to one another to form an uncompromising stream of demanding psychedelia, but with a lightness of touch that allows it to breathe, The Terror - the band's 13th album of course - is terrifying stuff indeed, but so too is it hugely rewarding.
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on 16 August 2013
I sat on my doorstep at 5 in the morning with this on my headphones watching the sun come up Bliss :)
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on 13 July 2015
First few listens, on first release, I wasn't impressed at all. I sheleved it. Thought they had disappeared into the anal voids of some pink robots. Saw it coming. Left bereft. Grieved it. Said bye bye, packed it away on the shelf and played 'Embryonic' to death for months ; still adore its intergalactic heaviness, so heavy, black holes wept.
This morning, I chanced upon its still stickily new plastic sleeve, buried in their collection on said shelf, admired its beautiful artwork, read a few lyrics and decided, maybe I had passed it off all too easily. I loaded the disc into my Mac, cloud delivered it to my ipad and I bluetoothed that to my Bose mini. I went back to bed and clicked play, thinking to myself that if it really was the pile of masturbation I originally thought, I would at least doze off. But no, strangely, it held me mesmerised for the entire album. So much so, after the first two or three tracks, I even lifted my mini-speaker off the pillow, lay on my back and placed it on my forehead. I wanted to feel its gorgeous rumble, be a part of it.
'Embryonic' , in my mind, gave birth to a difficult child that turned into a complete and utter beauty.
If 'Yoshimi...' was the good kid, battling against evil, 'The Terror', aptly named, is the evil it battled, running away, terrified, looking over its shoulder and defecating. But you love both your kids yes? You love the bad kid as much as you do the good kid, yes?
Remember, the good kid will always falter at times, and at times the bad kid will melt your heart.
This is a bad kid melting your heart whilst jumping up and down, unknowingly, on your treasured photo album.
Learn to love it! It is beautiful.
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on 4 April 2013
It's a tough listen but if you bear with Wayne Coyne and Co's new album, something profound, disturbing and, at times, beautiful emerges from its pulsing electronic soup. We live in a challenging, terrifying world... The Terror reflects it
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on 20 July 2015
A lot of stuff happened in The Flaming Lips camp between The Terror and previous album Embryonic. Frontman Wayne Coyne split with his partner of 20+ years and chief instrumentalist Steven Drozd briefly relapsed into heroin use. Embryonic already showed the band developing something darker than their generally uplifting, positive music of the '90s and '00s and The Terror shows the band journeying even further into the heart of darkness. Cold buzzing synths dominate proceedings with no songs standing out. To emphasize this lack of song-driven coherence, the iTunes version of the album came with a bonus track of the entire album in a single file. I rarely listen to this album but for the band to make such a 360° turn from their most commercially successful material 30 years in should be applauded. Now, where will they go next?
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on 7 April 2013
Carrying on from "Embryonic" & "Heady Friend" with that jagged industrial sound, but with a more dance beat to the tracks.
All the songs are long, running into each other, creating a conceptual feel to the album. The music has a very atmospheric feel, at times almost drone like.
The extra mini disc contain the single "Sun blows up today" which is quite catchy, & is a shame there weren't several other songs on the record to break up the monotony of the album. Finally we a have a woozie version of "All you need is love" that add a lighter end to the project.
It does feel a bit like Wayne Coyne is cutting his nose off to spite his face, by continuing on this journey of challenging listens, but he wouldn't be such a unique talent if he made the records his fans wanted.
So an album to best listen to in a darkened room, rather that at a barbecue on a barmy summer's evening.
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