The Flaming Lips – Peace Sword (2013)

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Having only recently released their album The Terror, the Flaming Lips are already back with Peace Sword. They are, indeed, not known for serving light fare, and this EP is no different.

In fact, Peace Sword is heavy, even by their standards. The EP is inspired by the children’s novel Ender’s Game, which has now been made into a film. The story is about a boy named Ender who finds his tactical strength while training for an alien invasion on a pre-imperialistic planet Earth. The songs reflect the futuristic and dystopian themes that often run through the book and movie.

The results are dark and sinister, as the Flaming Lips give us plenty of reasons to feel uncomfortable over the course of these six tracks. “Assassin Beetle,” which clocks in at more than 10 minutes long, makes you feel as if you are sitting in an ice cave. In fact, the 35 minute-long EP is filled with ambient tracks, distorted acoustic guitars, drum beats and pulsing synthesizers. Mix Wayne Coyne’s voice with these hallucinogenic effects and you have a nerve-wracking EP.

Now and then, the Flaming Lips offer us a few bright moments with songs like “Think Like a Machine, Not a Boy,” which finds a soft-sounding Coyne finally giving us a feeling of warmth. In those rare moments, it’s difficult not to miss the “old” Flaming Lips’ brand of eye-popping psychedelia.

The ambience and electronic elements are perfectly merged in their music, and the EP is not really a failure, but you have to wonder if they will continue to go on in this generally bleak mode in the future. Coyne is a cantankerous sort, and always has been, but maybe a little creative break wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Catching his breath, he might just let a little sunshine in.

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Mike Dostert

Mike Dostert

Luxembourg resident Mike Dostert has written about music for more than two decades, with work appearing in a local newspaper, via his own independent music magazine and at the web sites www.music-brain.com and lux-culture.jimdo.com. He has also worked for 20 years as a DJ and radio host. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mike Dostert
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