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Reviews

The Black Lips
200 Million Thousand Julian Marszalek , March 13th, 2009 07:21

It was no less an authority than Keith Richards who once opined that rock'n'roll shouldn't be too deeply thought about, let alone analysed. Listening to 200 Million Thousand – the fifth studio album from Atlanta's garage fetishists The Black Lips – and it's impossible not to arrive at the conclusion that this is advice the band has taken to its delightfully juvenile and puerile heart.

The Black Lips are a band only too keen to swan dive into rock 'n' roll's primordial ooze and slime with nary a thought for health and safety. Like all the best rock 'n' roll bands, The Black Lips are moved by primitive and guttural urges that are more likely to originate in the hips and the crotch than the head. What else are 'Good Golly Miss Molly', 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On', 'Rocket In My Pocket', 'Fujiyama Mama' and countless others about if not sex and delinquent behaviour? And make no mistake: this isn't music kowtowing to the art of seduction and love-making, this is the aural equivalent of a feral fuck that pauses only to wipe its cock clean on the curtains before heading out the door for some more gloriously anti-social behaviour.

Drenched in lashings of psychedelic reverb and sounding as if it had been recorded in a toilet in a single take during the grips of a particularly savage DMT binge, 200 Million Thousand is one of the most exciting experiences of the year thus far. The rollicking 'Take My Heart' and 'Drugs' are so raw they're reaching for the Savlon yet their appeal is instantaneous and instinctive. There's no pause for thought, deed or consequence; these nuggets exist purely on their own primeval terms.

But this isn't just a straight-ahead burst of unrestrained ramalama. 'The Drop I Hold' and 'Trapped In A Basement' slow the tempo down as guitars drip and weep lysergic tears from a well of deep-rooted fear and the latter track in particular finds The Black Lips tuning in and turning on to the psychedelic sounds of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. A cover of The Iguanas' (Iggy's pre-Stooges band) 'Again & Again' confirms their roots but best of all is an unexpected left-turn into the realm of folk rock in the shape of 'Starting Over'. As Byrdsian guitars chime and drunkenly stagger, the charmingly slurred words yearn for a sense of reformation and redemption.

And yet, despite their pleas, you're left hoping that they fuck up in this objective; sobriety wouldn't suit them – it would dull and dilute them and well they know it. This is a wild, wild world of cheap, visceral thrills, illicit substances and activities and right here, right now this is the best place to be.

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