9 p.m. Saturday
Blue Note Lounge
2408 N. Robinson Ave.
The Flaming Lips’ longevity has allowed them to cover a lot of sonic terrain over the years. Yet they’ve arguably become more adventurous with age, jeopardizing a good portion of their fan base in favor of fascinatingly bleak experiments in sound, beginning with Embryonic in 2009 and, more recently, The Terror.
For those who have been clamoring for a return to the more optimistic, life-affirming version of The Lips (or, as some would call them, “songs”), Peace Sword ought to appease — albeit subtly.
The six-song EP was conceived after being asked to write music for the end credits of the recently released sci-fi flick Ender’s Game, a film based on the novel of the same name. Fittingly, the band’s more detached mechanical elements are retained but are often powered by a candy-coated jet pack.
“Peace Sword (Open Your Heart)” sounds like it could have been a Yoshimi outtake, and “Is the Black at the End Good” — maybe their prettiest song of the last decade — is fragile piano balladry, as Wayne Coyne coos existentially, “Cause everywhere the love is / That’s where I will be.” The Terror’s moody atmosphere still pervades throughout, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that has seemingly been absent for the last several years. And depending on how you like your Lips, that can either be a good or bad thing.
Ultimately, whether Peace Sword is indicative of a transitory phase — and a somewhat uneven one at that — isn’t the question we should be asking. Rather, what’s next? — Zach Hale
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