BY SCOTT RECKER
Even with almost a decade and a half under their belt, Black Lips still have that youthful glint in their eyes, continuing to shell out high-energy gut-punches about the seedy corners of life. The thing that has remained the same over their eight album career is that they get in and out fast, with most of the Atlanta-based four piece’s songs clocking in at under three minutes, giving them the ability to jump from idea to idea, which keeps their freewheeling antics in full motion.
What has changed throughout time is instrumental prowess: in the early 2000s they seemed to rely on the barebones basics of punk to stay afloat, but, on their last few albums — and especially here — they’ve roamed, pushing themselves in different directions, incorporating swampy blues, ‘50s rockabilly and various other branches from the tree of rock n roll. Where everything they did seemingly used to revolve around the inherit rebelliousness of punk, they now appear to be scholars of the genre, showing an appreciation and an aptitude for the roots of their style.
Even though they have polished their sound, they haven’t lost their edge. The chaos may be more controlled, but Black Lips can walk that line between unhinged and dexterous. They still have that dirty, carefree, uncompromising vibe, but on Underneath the Rainbow it’s able to be tamed, morphing into melodic garage rock that’s as catchy and easily digestible as it is rugged and in-your-face. And why it works is that they are not necessarily trying to be one or the other. They’re just evolving.
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