Black Lips [Album]

Black Lips [Album]

Wednesday, 01 June 2011

Artist: Black Lips
Album: Arabia Mountain
Label: Vice Records
Every two years when Black Lips re-surface, each new recording is slightly more polished than the last, each managing to sound as though it cost nothing make. Sometimes it costs a lot to sound cheap, and with in-demand producer Mark Ronson helming their new opus, the trashy garage sound synonymous with the Lips was in question. However the result is perfect with Ronson’s diverse musical taste fueling the integrity of their signature sound. Arabia Mountain’s subject matter is for the most part immature. The song writing however has progressed to a perfect pop form blending slimy hooks with snotty lyrics packing sixteen, three and half minute up tempo anthems into an almost perfect forty-one minutes. The record immediately lights on fire like a roman candle shot into a gas tank with the powerful gang vocals and snarling saxophone on “Family Tree” and continuing to the slightly more polished, trippy punk single “Modern Art.” Track three will likely be new fan favourite discussing Spider Man’s one true nemesis: his molesting parents.

Ronson’s production tiers vocals upfront with guitar hooks, saxophone, piano. “Mr. Driver” has some ghostly vocal hooks with Cole Alexander crooning “I want to bleed on my Squire” with a rhythm section grouped in the back. The Lips’ ever present heat stroke southern fried riffs melted with trebly chord walls are still prevalent on Arabia Mountain but with a more professional production insight. The booze soaked confessional “Time” finds the the band chirping “Time is moving on but you keep on crying oh so long, but I keep on moving right along” in an obvious tribute to a band consistently on the road and breaking hearts. “The Lie,” a mid album trash pile begins softly on acoustic but switches quickly to dark stormy solo pop preaching like a Baptist sermon performed by the Monkeys on whisky and downers

The Black Lips have slow burn graduated to larger venues, major success and a large supportive fan base. Arabia Mountain’s sound stays true to the band’s roots and luckily for them, Vice Records will always be more concerned with street cred over major success. As bassist Jared Swilley charmingly discloses on New Direction “I wanna’ run but scared my legs won’t go” could it be that the Lips refuse to take their music in any other direction? Let’s hope so. [Jackson Main]


Arabia Mountain is out now. Buy it here on Amazon.

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