After The Terror comes the light, sort of. The Lips most recent album was setting controls to the heart of the Sun, a Floydian odyssey that took their Dark Side of The Moon obsession way beyond covering it in full and into a fiery end, as piloted by Captain Stephen Drozd. Now though, it seems that parity is restored as normal first officer Wayne Coyne has wrestled back control, and with the lead song on the Peace Sword EP, “Peace Sword (Open Your Heart)” there’s a more hopeful optimistic tone.
Coyne is apparently just on the other side of a marriage break up, and it kind of figures.
Peace Sword was supposed to be one of many larks on the side that keep the band amused between albums. But it’s become so much more than loving covers (most recently of The Stone Roses) or gummy bear enwrapped mp3’s or 24 hour website songs. The lead song was commissioned for the soundtrack of the film Ender’s Game but the EP born out of it also inspired by the film but rejected for the soundtrack, racking in at 36 minutes could be considered almost as a second album in a year for this most restless and innovative of bands. And in tone perhaps the closest to the simultaneously fatalistic yet optimistic classic album The Soft Bulletin.
Sure, there’s still hangover from The Terror with its almost signature metallic clang of a chord on second song ‘If They Move, Shoot ‘Em’ but there’s almost a hint of Primal Scream Xtrmntr too. ‘Is The Black At The End’ is melancholy and introspective, like Grinderman doing the Wooden Shjips but blossoms into a big arms outstretched, pre climbing into a big ball and floating over the audience you might imagine. ‘Think Like A Machine, Not A Boy’ is a twinkle eyed hark back to Yoshimi’s battles against those darned Pink Robots, it’s hippy and it’s dippy and enthralling.
With this and the soaring lead song there’s enough light to strake through the more soupy and sinisterial fug of the final two tracks. It strongly suggests that the Lips have fought the dystopian demons that threatened to bring the whole curtain down on the psychedelic enterprise as quickly as the Twitter split rumours were quashed. Long live the Lips! And may their game never Ender. 8/10