T-Birds, Titties and Jail Time
The Black Lips have been known to cause a ruckus. The Atlanta garage-rock band has puked and spit on fewer people as the years go by, but that doesn’t mean their rough edges are gone. For their seventh studio album, Underneath the Rainbow, longtime bandmates Cole Alexander, Joe Bradley, Ian St. Pé and Jared Swilley, along with producers Patrick Carney (of The Black Keys) and Tom Brenneck, continue to use the same formula that has made the Black Lips successful.
The album begins with “Drive-By Buddy,” the type of southern rock sound we’d expect to hear from the Black Lips, with the lyrics to match it: “Well, brother what’s the matter / Do you hate the life you chose? … We’re hangin’ on a broken T-Bird hood.” The band’s punk influences still stand out in songs like “Dorner Party” and “Do The Vibrate,” which feature lots of Swilley’s bass and Alexander’s screaming vocals.
Their single “Justice After All” is a little cheesy, a simple song that doesn’t do anyone much justice, but the other single, “Boys in the Wood,” tells a great story and is one of those songs that’s easy to sing along to: “Them boys are wild / Back in the woods / They got a child / Who’s misunderstood.” There are other gems on the album, like “Smiling,” even though it’s about Swilley’s experience in jail. Another notable track is “Make You Mine,” a perfect blend of their signature southern garage rock with a touch of upbeat, laid-back indie rock.
There’s nothing completely mind-blowing going on in Underneath the Rainbow. It’s another distinct Black Lips album. But that distinction is what they have going for them, along with the fact that they have a huge following and they’re still young and they still have a lot of music to make. Let’s all be thankful they quit their day jobs!