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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