The Terror

Before the confetti cannons and sci-fi Day-Glo-pop operettas, the Flaming Lips made great acid-nightmare rock records about the high cost of transcendence. The Terror is that darkness returned: a gripping middle-age-mystic crisis with rude, cosmic-German electronics crowding Wayne Coyne's tremulous boy-explorer voice. The beauty is fleeting but piquant. A choral glow cuts past the clatter and seizures in "Look . . . The Sun Is Rising" and the title song. More relentless and compelling is the honesty running through the scarred throb and spaced-boogie convulsions in "You Lust" and "Always There . . . In Our Hearts": Heaven, on Earth or anywhere else, doesn't come easy.