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Black Lips
Underneath the Rainbow - VICE
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Robert Rea on March 18, 2014

 

Black Lips

With their seventh album, the Black Lips once again assert their place at the forefront of garage-rock. All the familiar signifiers from their best work can be heard here: the Phil Spector sheen, the participatory handclaps, the happy-go-lucky whistling. “Waiting” is cut from the same cloth as raucous party jams like “Raw Meat” and “New Direction” from 2011’s Arabia Mountain. What steers the new record into uncharted territory is their seasoned approach. Make no mistake, the Black Lips still give zero fucks, but the bratty punks from Atlanta branch out by looking deeper into their musical heritage. “Boys in the Wood,” for one, uses a chugging blues progression to deliver a backwoods tale of whiskey, white lightning and stolen cars. The menacing riff on “Funny” evokes classic Southern rock, then explodes into the chorus: “I don’t feel so corny now/Now that world’s turned upside down/I’m that boy who thinks it’s funny.” This kind of absurdist humor is much darker than the cartoonish clowning on previous albums. Recorded in Nashville with producer Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, Underneath the Rainbow shoots for crossover appeal without compromising their tried-and-true aesthetic. Feels like a winning combo.

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