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Electric Würms were first mentioned by Flaming Lips multi-instrumentalist and all round freak Steven Drozd to Fuse.tv back in April of 2013, when he said the idea was "to get a psych-prog band going. Wayne wanted me to be this weird John McLaughlin-style front guy playing guitar with a crack team of prog musicians. We're trying to get something going with that... I don't think Wayne ever wants me to have any free time, so he always has some new thing for me to do." Despite stepping back a little from the spotlight, Wayne Coyne seemed to be the driving force for another cosmic adventure into uncharted psychedelic territory, using the genius Drozd as his mouthpiece. With the bleak, depressing (but amazing) The Terror behind them, the main players of the Lips were free to create more batshit crazy music for us all to devour. And thus Electric Würms were born.

A collaboration between Drozd, Coyne and members of a Nashville-based prog band called Linear Downfall, Electric Würms' debut release comes in the form of a six song record, though it's more of an EP if truth be told. In there we have a cover of Yes ('Heart of The Sunrise'), and if you're a fan of the Lips, a lot of familiar stylings from their back catalogue, only... proggier. The EP opens with 'I Can Only See Clouds', a song that kicks you straight into the spaceship with pounding, tribal drums and Coyne's overpowering laserbeam synthesizers. It does sound extremely like the Flaming Lips, it has to be said, and it would have fitted in perfectly on Embryonic, one of my favourite records that showed off the Lips' ability to experiment and have fun. The lyrics are nonsense, as Drozd sings "I was deformed in the future" over some brilliant guitar work as the song builds. It's an effective start, a straight-to-the-point, what you see (or more accurately, hear) is what you get taster of what's to come.

Unfortunately the next song takes the excitement and momentum of the opener and tosses it into a black hole. 'Futuristic Hallucination' is a title that promises more than it offers: a boring four minutes of space-themed "ambience" that could easily be the loading screen music for a video game about aliens or the soundtrack to a nerd's lunch in the cafe of a Star Trek convention. It wouldn't be quite so bad if it didn't go on for so long. Had the EP been bigger, or perhaps the length of an album, it could have been an interesting thirty second gap-filler into another song, a break from the chaos. It's a shame that it had to accommodate a whole song slot in the mere six track lifespan of Electric Würms.

"The bat was trying to fly, but his wings had gotten wet" sings Coyne on 'The Bat', a number that creeps along with an unsettling chug for two minutes before we hear his voice. The song is minimalist, decorated with some intricate hi-hat and piercing keyboard stabs that sound like fucking lightning bolts firing from the sky. There is a jazzy feel to this one, and some great drumming courtesy of either Drozd or Will Hicks from Linear Downfall. 'The Bat' continues the slow pace of the previous song but has way more going for it; you don't get a chance to get bored as there are so many little elements to command your attention. The drums don't necessarily play by the rules, breaking pattern whenever they fancy it. It sounds like a bunch of burned-out hippies staying up till 3am and jamming along at the arse-end of another drug trip. And I like that. Sadly though, I was dying for the band to explode into some insane freakout towards the song's climax, but it didn't come. And neither did I.

'Living' ups the tempo and brings in some krautrock rhythms, with electronic beats that resemble the patter of feet, running down a tunnel into the unknown. Screeching guitars give way to a beautiful keyboard melody that wouldn't sound out of place on The Terror, and it starts to become apparent that Electric Würms could be a continuation of that album, that the darker, sparser approach is still floating around the heads of Drozd and Coyne. Not to discredit the folks from Linear Downfall at all: their discography is worth a listen if you're feeling weird and spontaneous. But this is definitely the Lips' ship, and Drozd and Coyne are the captains. However, for all its charm, 'Living' is another song that feels like it overstays its welcome. I've always loved the long, droning Lips' numbers but on Electric Würms they just don't seem to hit home.

Thankfully 'Transform!!!' comes along and smashes me square in the senses; a wild four minute result of the band members fooling around with their toys and throwing the computer (briefly) out the window. This is the rawest you're gonna get on Electric Würms, a flash in the pan of psycho-funk driven by totally wild, primal drumming with Coyne (I think) urging you to "TRANSFORM!" before his voice is twisted and attacked with mind-altering echoey production, sending him spiralling into madness like some Syd Barrett disciple.

'Heart of The Sunrise' bleeds in calmly with tender vocals from Coyne and Drozd, which display a vulnerability and softness that is welcome after a succession of "out there" songs. It's a nice cover, a much shorter version of the Yes original, and a sweet way to end the EP. But it kind of sums up Electric Würms as a whole: cool and weird with some great moments, but little structure or direction. The boys from the Lips are always full of ideas, and most of the time they come to fruition, creating classic and groundbreaking albums. I'm afraid that Electric Würms won't be pulling me back in for too many repeat listens, and will be filed away with the other Lips "experiments". As much as I love Coyne and co., I don't know whether to be scared or excited for Lip$ha...

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