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Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand

Black Lips, 200 Million Thousand

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

ATLANTA’S Black Lips follow up 2007’s breakthrough Good Bad Not Evil with 200 Million Thousand, a snotty 14-track celebration of unadorned rock ‘n’ roll and no-bullshit songwriting.

Boasting more of their trademark gruff lyrics, and snappy guitar riffs, this is an album that flirts with pure rock as well as psychadelia, garage and post-punk. There’s traces of The Strokes, early Kings of Leon, the 13th Floor Elevators and affectionate nods to the New York Dolls.

Above all else, they appear to be having fun. Second track Drugs, for instance, is an enthusiastic romp of a record, packed with rollicking guitar riffs and a raw, hopelessly ragged set of vocals.

Starting Over, meanwhile, cleans up the riffs to deliver a stark central chord that’s utterly mesmerising, before then careering into a ’60s influenced slice of hazy psychadelia.

When they’re charting this territory, Black Lips are difficult to resist. Unfortunately, their decision to chop and change doesn’t always pay dividends, despite being admirable in intent.

So, while the early part of the album is a real barnstormer, with Let It Grow, Short Fuse and I’ll Be With You also standing out as highlights, the latter part fails to deliver the out and out classic we’d been anticipating.

Rather, there are moments that don’t convince. Big Black Baby Jesus of Today is dark, sarcastic and not particularly appealing, Old Man is a real head trip of a song that sounds like it was written by The Doors, and Drop I Hold feels even more tripped out, stripped down and onerous. The vocals just don’t work when stripped of the lively guitar work.

The overall impression, therefore, is that 200 Million Thousand is pretty darn hot when it’s concentrating on delivering pure, unbridled, rock ‘n’ roll, but more than a little wayward in other places.

Download picks: Drugs, Short Fuse, I’ll Be With You, Starting Over, Let It Grow

Track listing:

  1. Take My Heart
  2. Drugs
  3. Starting Over
  4. Let It Grow
  5. Trapped In A Basement
  6. Short Fuse
  7. I’ll Be With You
  8. Big Black Baby Jesus Of Today
  9. Again And Again
  10. Old Man
  11. Drop I Hold
  12. Body Combat
  13. Elijah
  14. I Saw God
  15. Meltdown

  1. Nooo

    The second half of this album is better


    gonzo    Mar 15    #
  2. Whaaat!! i think they maybe the best live act of 2009, and the new album is excellent!

    Mike    Mar 26    #