Black Lips - Arabia Mountain

By: Andrew Horan

Black Lips - Arabia Mountain

Jun. 14, 2011

Black Lips
Arabia Mountain

(Vice Records)

SOUNDS LIKE: The Atlanta "flower punks" came through working with superstar producer Mark Ronson with their sound intact.

A fair amount has been written about the Black Lips' decision to work with hit-making producer Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Adele etc.) and what effect it would have on their sound. Fans of their down and dirty garage rock can breathe a collective sigh of relief, their gritty sound remains intact. If anything, the retro sound of Ronson's production is perfectly suited to the Lips.

There's a Spectorish vibe to the album's lead off "Family Tree" complete with a saxophone and anthemic vocals. It continues on the first single "Modern Art", a short, sharp Nuggets-style chunk of garage rock complete with a Theremin played by Sean Lennon.

Just because they worked with a big-name producer doesn't mean that they're maturing. Their juvenile sense of humour is still intact on songs like "Dumpster Diving" and "Raw Meat".

Perhaps the biggest complaint to be had with the album is with the length. Clocking in at 16 tracks, a few do feel fillerish and it seems as though they're repeating themselves at times. But the last few tracks prove to be the most interesting. The R n' B rave-up of "Noc-A-Homa" and the psychedelic "You Keep on Running", also the longest song on the album, are definite highlights.

Despite some bloat in the middle section, the Black Lips have crafted yet another fun collection of songs, proving that working with a famous producer doesn't necessarily equate selling out.

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