Black Lips | Good, Bad, Not Evil (Vice)

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cd_blacklips.jpgThey consider themselves "flower punk," the meaning of which is unclear—perhaps a reference to a Frank Zappa song—and for a punk band, they certainly attempt to convey a varied message.

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Lips are recognized for their onstage antics and garage rock sound, casually exposing themselves and encouraging fistfights. I am normally highly skeptical of any band so confident in their subversion, but the young Atlanta group's fifth album, their first studio release for Vice Records, does have a unique quality that makes it intriguing.

They manage to merge their former messiness with a more bluesy tone that never fails to keep its structure, giving this album a much wider appeal than their previous ones. With a sound reminiscent of The Germs or The New York Dolls, The Black Lips  revel in their unpredictability.

They consider themselves "flower punk," the meaning of which is unclear—perhaps a reference to a Frank Zappa song—and for a punk band, they certainly attempt to convey a varied message.

The song "O Katrina," named for the hurricane and about a girl "from New Orleans," gives its blues roots a somewhat muddier nature. While the song falls short any real meaning, it has a wonderfully classic rock 'n' roll feel. Another lo-fi blues line comprises the body of the well-named "I Saw a Ghost (Lean)."

The transition to some more country-style tracks is another step out of their garage rock tendency. In "How Do You Tell a Child that Someone Has Died," where they attempt to convey the difficulty of explaining death, the touch of sincerity ends up coming off as trite. Most of their more country tracks such as "Navajo" and "Lock and Key" plod along, lacking the charisma of their rougher approaches.

In the lead-off single - one of the catchier tracks on the album—"Cold Hands," the lyrics are for the most part indiscernible and irrelevant, but the style has a depth much of the album is lacking.

With refreshing simplicity and abandon, Good, Bad, Not Evil delivers songs that are certainly toned down for the group, but nonetheless maintain their tough quality. B- | Leah Martin

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