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BLACK LIPS : Let It Bloom

Label: In the Red
lp: 8 €  (Sold out)
"The Black Lips make the best album covers. Their debut featured a 1920s silver screen star with black lipstick and the words “Black Lips!” printed on her flapper hat. Their second album cover was as psychedelic as its title – We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow – with pink silk-screened flowers pasted over the band’s blacklighted faces. Let It Bloom, their third full-length in as many years, has a cover that looks like an outtake from The Sounds of Silence photo shoot, where, instead of walking down a forest path, Simon and Garfunkel are actually sitting in a tree. You can hardly see the band’s faces in the darkness of it all, and there’s got to be something to be said for that. Sure, Let it Bloom is a garage album, and sure it sounds like the Sonics and all that, but it’s also got an injection of Simon and Garfunkel, whose melodies were actually pretty dark in tone. The Black Lips have taken those melodies and climbed in a tree with them, waited until the whole forest got pitch black, and then sang them.

Let It Bloom is so good it makes you want to climb up that tree and get stuck there with them. “Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah” embraces the tree-hugging sentiment with a dancing troubadour guitar line and tambourine shake that stops and starts again just as it’s charmed you into a trance. On “Not a Problem”, Cole Alexander’s voice soars over the music with AM radio warmth, and if it weren’t so raw, you’d think Frankie Vallie was churning out another chart-topper. “Feeling Gay” is surprisingly effective as a blues, punk, and pop song rolled into one. It’s got the feeling of one genre’s elder statesman showing the next generation how it’s done – sort of like Neil Young playing grunge with Pearl Jam. Except it’d be more like Muddy Waters playing punk with the Ramones. With Frankie Vallie on the vox! “She’s Gone” nods to The Adolescents tearing it up at their most angst-ridden, and then all of a sudden “Dirty Hands” rolls along, swinging like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” and asking, “Anne, do you really want to hold my dirty hands?” The Black Lips refuse to stay hidden in the darkness, but damned if they don’t stay in that tree all album long."
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