Monday, February 23, 2009

Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand

For Atlanta Music Guide:

Black Lips
200 Million Thousand

Vice Records

By Julia Reidy

As one of Atlanta’s most rapidly maturing acts of recent years, the Black Lips already Let It Bloom, and now they’ll “Let It Grow.” The latter, the fourth track to their fifth studio album, 200 Million Thousand (their third record for Vice), introduces the listener to more of what they’d expect from the irreverent flower punk four-piece — whining garage guitar; yelled, often incoherent, slurred vocals; a drunken aural atmosphere that almost seeps beer through headphones or speaker banks. But, as so often seems to happen when fans start to predict a band’s future direction, they’ve veered a bit off the path they set for themselves with 2007’s fantastic Good Bad Not Evil. They’ll develop a different way.

Rather than continuing to make their songs more hook-centric and deliberate with each release, the Black Lips have turned toward more echo and psychedelia, even opting for slower garage tempos over breakneck punk pacing. No track on 200 Million Thousand is quite as grimily charming as “Veni Vidi Vici,” for instance, or as adorably anarchic as “Bad Kids” (both from Good Bad Not Evil). Instead, we’re given the warbling vocals, silly falsetto backup and bells of “Trapped in a Basement” and the swaggering, reverb-heavy half-rap of “The Drop I Hold.”

As always, the Black Lips have a knack for walking the line between complete lyrical frivolity and topical poignancy. No songwriting moment on 200 Million mimics the timeliness of Good Bad’s “O Katrina!” but “Big Black Baby Jesus of Today” certainly doesn’t shy away from controversy. Even the seemingly lighthearted “Drugs” touches on a theme that seems to pop up repeatedly in the band’s material. One of the final lines of the song — which also discusses cruising around, taking drugs and hanging out with friends — says, “I hope they follow me,” expressing a wish that these good times (and the people that constitute them) will last forever. It mirrors the end of “Transcendental Light,” the final track from Good Bad, and maybe at its core reflects a fundamental anxiety about the fact that the carefree life can only be an ephemeral one...[Read more]

(I think I need to work on word variety a little...)
The Black Lips are playing the Variety on Friday with Atlas Sound and Gentleman Jesse...should be a good time!

Oh hey, did I ever show y'all my review of the Women record for this months Stomp and Stammer?

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