Listen to the first couple of cuts from the Black Lips' self-titled debut album and it sounds like you've uncovered yet another nuevo-garage rock band with an extra shot of punk rock attitude. All well and good, but let the album sink in and you realize these kids have a bit more up their sleeves -- the tres-wasted psychedelia of "Freakout," the creepy blues crawl of "Stone Cold" and "Down and Out," and the free-form dementia of "You're Dumb" prove these guys have been absorbing their influences from any number of less than wholesome sources. A bit like the Dwarves pre-Blood Guts & Pussy, the Black Lips are looking for something dirty, dangerous, and just plain unhealthy beneath the energetic veneer of garage punk, and on this album they don't have much trouble finding it. While the performances are often ragged to the point of near collapse, that seems to be the point much of the time, and the addled wail of singer Cole Alexander is a fine mouthpiece for this journey through the gutters of your mind. Savage and not for the squeamish, but cool stuff for folks who like their rhythm hooch in a dirty glass.
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Black Lips! based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This Atlanta quartet spins out the sort of ragged, blues-edged garage rock that brings to mind the early lineups of 1980s revivalists like The Salvation Army, The Chesterfield Kings and The Lyres. But in the case of The Black Lips, two decades further removed from the mid-60s garage and roughed up by the sterility of 90s pop music, their sound is even rougher, with less focus on ’60s style and more concentration of raw, adrenal playing. ¶ Vocalist Cole Alexander sings in a hyperactive, rusty growl that’s exaggerated by a tinny microphone, studio distortion, and the band’s underlying thrash of guitars, bass and drums. At times the songs spiral into chaos (much like their live shows are reported to do), but the reverb-soaked blues "Stone Cold" settles down for a slow-motion examination. ¶ This Bomp LP was delayed a few months when guitarist Ben Eberbaugh was killed in a freak car accident. In his honor, the band collected all of the tracks they’d recorded to that point, including early singles, to create this CD. It’s a fitting overview of the band’s first, savagely good incarnation.