After making some of the most positively poppy indie-psych releases of the aughts, Oklahoma weirdos The Flaming Lips have gradually been regressing to their tripped-out, unconventional, experimental early days. The new LP The Terror, their 13th release overall, is out on Warner Brothers records next Tuesday, April 16th, and you can listen to it streaming in full this week via NPR Music’s First Listen series. NPR’s Stephen Thompson describes it as a surreal and kinda scary work that lives up to its title:
Sounding almost post-apocalyptic in its scabrous, searching bleakness — Coyne himself describes the album as “disturbing” — The Terror moans and scrapes ominously from its opening seconds onward. Scorched and frayed, with an almost industrial ugliness to it, “Look…The Sun Is Rising” gets the proceedings underway by capturing the sound of a world (and, it would seem, a band) in distress, even decay. But The Terror still finds a way to reward deeper exploration, as cracked loveliness seeps into moments that soar tentatively; by way of example, “Be Free, A Way” may not be sunny, but it lets light peek through its cracks in unexpected ways.
Listen to The Terror in its entirety here. And even though they’re not coming to Philadelphia in their present run of tour dates, you can get a taste of that trademark Lips freakishness when the new concert film Freak Night, which captures one of the band’s notorious Halloween shows, screens this weekend at the XPN Music Film Festival. Get tickets and more information here.