Electric Wurms - Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk

Electric Wurms album cover

With some rock bands taking years to write and record new music, it’s admirable that the Flaming Lips seem to be involved in multiple projects each year. With the highly publicized reworking of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band due out in October, this new Flaming Lips side project released a debut EP seemingly out of nowhere.  

Electric Wurms features Steven Drozd and Wayne Coyne switching roles with Drozd on lead vocals (among other things) and Coyne playing bass, while members of Nashville psychedelic/experimental group Linear Downfall round out the group. Throughout Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk (which is Google translation of "music, that's hard to twerk to" in German), Drozd and company write songs similar to the Flaming Lips style of noisy psych rock but with more krautrock and progressive rock influences.

On the first track “I Could Only See Clouds,” Drozd’s falsetto vocals sound almost identical to what most listeners think of as Coyne’s trademark howl. Musically, the song could be an upbeat b-side from The Terror with scraping guitar chords, synths and drums taking the forefront during the dreamy verse and chorus sections. Following each chorus, a psych rock inspired fuzz guitar and bass riff repeats before moving into the next section.

The second track “Futuristic Hallucination” is an aptly titled instrumental featuring hints of the Electric Miles (Davis) era along with phase shifted mellotrons moving through a jazzy chord progression. About half way through the song, looped ambient noises and highly effected vocal samples start fading in which eventually transitions directly into “The Bat." With a pulsing drum machine, jazzy live drums, scratchy guitar, and other creepy sounds building throughout the song, “The Bat” is a dark hypnotic excursion with harmonized vocals and dissonant synths.  

"The Living" is the longest track on Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk and features the most krautrock influences on the record. Imagining Can playing along with Kraftwerk's Autobahn is a good approximation of the song’s backbone. Following the two melodic verses featuring harmonized vocals, the songs builds with sweeping echoed soundscapes, more guitar scrapes, and mellotron before abruptly ending. “Transform!!!” is reminiscent of the Flaming Lips on  Embryonic with its retro sound, big live drums and psychedelic flourishes. Coyne is definitely channeling Geezer Butler’s bass playing with the slightly improvised pentatonic riffs throughout the track. To showcase Drodz’s prog rock inspiration, the album ends with truncated cover version of “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes.

While Coyne seems to grab all the attention for the band’s ever increasing popularity, Drozd has seemed happy just making music...a lot of music in the shadows of this psychedelic circus. Since joining the Flaming Lips as just a drummer in 1991, Drozd has since taken on guitar, keyboards, and backup vocals along with what seems like the lion’s share of songwriting. So its about time that Drozd has been given more of the limelight and Electric Wurms is the perfect outlet to showcase his songwriting, vocals, and multi-instrumental abilities.