Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand

Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand - Picture

Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand - Picture

Black lips are a four-piece from Atlanta, Georgia, who play a rootsy garage influenced rock and roll. They are also known for stage antics involving members making out and urine, and slightly less for actually making albums, though they have been doing that as well since 2003. Their antics recently got them chased out of India, but their latest album, 200 Million Thousand, released February 24 on Vice Records, is getting them rightfully good attention in America. The album starts strong with 3 exciting, fun songs back-to-back. The first, “Take My Heart” is a classic rave-up, getting the listener excited for the rest of the album. “Drugs,” the second track, is a fun punk song in the tradition of The Exploding Hearts and successfully builds on the energy of “Take My Heart.” “Starting Over,” the third track, is a classic call-and-response style song with the singer singing what he’s tired of and the back-up answering “I’m Starting Over.” As with all the Black Lips best work, they use simplicity and repetition expertly creating a fun sing-along atmosphere. This is cathartic music. The rest of the album has several scattered winners, including “Short Fuse” an anthemic song with the band sounding together and on. It is in this aspect, capturing the band sounding as a single unit, that the production really shines. The guitars hit just right and the singer sounds appropriately lo-fi, and the Black Lips rhythmic use of piano really fills out the overall sound of these songs. “I’ll Be with You” is another late side 1 song that hits the right tone and comes off as sweet. They maintain this fun atmosphere for the rest of the album, including “Again & Again” a cover of Iggy Pop, the bouncy “Body Combat,” and “Old Man” a country tinged song with a nice pop chorus which is a personal favorite.

This isn’t to say that this is a perfect album. As it goes on a few tracks miss, as with the album closer (excluding the hidden track) “I Saw God.” The song ends up in a good place, but takes too long getting there. The real drag on the album is that the Black Lips sound just slightly too much like some of their influences and peer bands. While they write excellent, catchy rock songs, too often when hearing one of their songs for the first time I am struck with a distinct heard-this-before feeling. While the songs win me over in the end, this feeling still fucks with my overall enjoyment of the album. However this album proves again that the Black Lips are a fun, formidable band and hopefully they will continue to grow into themselves and find their own sound.

Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand, reviewed by coelho on 2009-03-01T20:23:17-08:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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