Saturday, 2 August 2008

Black Lips, Good Bad Not Evil

Black Lips, Good Bad Not Evil
Vice Records

1968 was a pretty cool year. It gave us ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ by Tom Wolfe, the film ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and The Velvets’ seminal album White Light/White Heat. There were drugs. There was rock’n’roll. And there were the Black Lips.

Well, almost. The Black Lips are a four-piece from Atlanta, Georgia whose fifth release, Good Bad Not Evil, is (much like the previous four) a work that obstinately ignores the past forty years of popular music, instead wallowing in fuzzy garage rock guitars, primal drumming, country twists and psychedelic flower-punk, all coming in under the three minute mark. This record sees the Lips make a leap from the crazed noisiness of earlier releases and explore new and even more bizarre territory. Southern slide guitars flavour the tasteless hilarity of ‘How Do You Tell A Child That Someone Has Died?’, while ‘Navajo’ is the soundtrack to a long-forgotten cowboys and Indians TV show. Single ‘Cold Hands’ is more typically Black Lips, but tidied up and straightened out so that if Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett ran a radio station that broadcast in the Mojave desert it could almost be deemed ‘radio-friendly’.

Their live reputation is pretty terrifying, so if you’d rather stay dry while soaking up your Sixties rock then Good Bad Not Evil should appeal. Obviously the Lips have their detractors, as anyone labelled ‘revivalist’ inevitably does, but if you’re a fan of Lenny Kaye’s genius Nuggets compilation or, heck, even The Horrors’ take on deranged psych-rock, then you’ll have no complaints. Long live flower-punk.


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