Track Listing (key track in bold)
1. Drive-by Buddy
3. Make You Mine
5. Dorner Party
6. Justice After All
7. Boys in the Wood
9. Do The Vibrate
10. I Don’t Wanna Go Home
11. Dandelion Dust
12. Dog Years
The Black Lips aren’t the kind of band who like to experiment. I think it’s fair to say they aren’t about to release their version of “Kid A” any time soon. And why would we want them to when they release albums as joyful as Underneath The Rainbow. I mean yeah, their sound hasn’t radically altered (apart from a cleaner production) since their early days but their songs harken back to the glory days of Nuggets era garage rock, Ramones punk and fifties rock ‘n roll. Is there anything better than that? I for one would hate it if they discovered synths.
Underneath The Rainbow then carries off from Arabia Mountain. Except they have swapped producers, meaning Mark Ronson is out and in comes, for some songs, the Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. His own bands sound is noticeable particularly on the track ‘Dandelion Dust’ but other than that it’s business as usual for the Lips.
I recently did a Q&A with band member Jared Swillman who stated their main influences included Link Wray, The Ramones and Gene Vincent. It’s easy to see these influences here, as well as numerous beat bands such as The Monkees, early Rolling Stones and The Kinks. There are some more excellent songs to be found here, such as Boys in the Wood, Dog Years, Dorner Party and Waiting.
I’m old so I only have a small tolerance for eardrum shattering guitar squall, so this new, well produced approach is probably more to my tastes. I will say that my rock and roll spirit hasn’t dampened so I do kind of miss the anarchic side to the Black Lips.
The Black Lips have been joined in the garage rock revolution by the likes of Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and Allah-La’s recently, but they are still, in my opinion, yet to be kicked off of the throne. Whilst they may have lost their rough, unique edge over the last two albums, there is no doubt their songs are more accessible as a result. Better? Maybe not in every instance. But the band will certainly gain new fans as a result. Not their best album to date, but still a mighty enjoyable effort.