The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Perplexity – THE BLACK LIPS: Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? (Vice Music, 2017)

black-lips

Asombro y perplejidad es la primera reacción que quizás nos envíe el último trabajo (y octavo en su carrera) de The Black Lips. Un disco preñado de sorpresas que lo mismo te va por sus raíces más rockeras que al sonido spaguetti-western, al carnaval sonoro o a los sesenta más edulcorados. Una forma de desmarcarse de las tendencias musicales del momento y desde luego de apostar por un sonido personal y decididamente al margen de cualquier propuesta. Inclasificables.
Me gustan: Can´t hold on, Occidental front, Wayne, It won´t be wrong.

“As its title suggests, Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? invites oppositional, Rorschach-test interpretations. It is at once the Black Lips’ most sonically elaborate album and its most aggressively primitive. The band wrap the songs in a cinematic, carnivalesque clamor, but shout themselves hoarse as if they were still trying to hear themselves over a blown-out church-basement PA. Weighing in at 18 tracks, Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? assumes the form of a concept album while making a complete mockery of the medium. There are overtures and interludes and reprises and spoken-word passages, but no discernible logic holding them together. Which could very well be the point—when a band as notoriously unruly as the Black Lips opt to make a double-album opus, don’t be surprised when they come off like a group of road-tripping teenagers who’ve scored a Groupon for a five-star hotel and opt to take a dump in the bidet.
Following a brief, jazzy intro, the puffed-up Lips come out swinging with “Occidental Front,” a bracing, stormy blast of desert psych that sounds like the “Rawhide” theme rerouted through the StoogesFun House. But the ceaseless paisley-pop stomp of lead single “Can’t Hold On” provides an early indication of this album’s nagging flaw: its tendency to hammer a simple two-minute tune into a laborious four-minute one. The sense of torpor is exacerbated by tossed-off intermission tracks that drag on for as long as the proper songs, as if branding the bloozy scuzz of “Got Me All Alone” and the warbled-out bongo soul of “Interlude: E’lektric Spider Webz” as “interludes” exonerates the band of aimlessly dicking around.
The album’s best songs are tucked onto Side Two. “Squatting in Heaven” imagines an alternate 1960s where the Stones got stuck in the toga-party circuit; “Rebel Intuition” supports the theory that the first punk album ever was Highway 61 Revisited. And then there’s the gleaming, Spector-like “Crystal Night,” the sort of sweetly subversive song that only the Black Lips could pull off. Just as their 2007 standard “O Katrina!” conflated a girl-done-me-wrong narrative with the worst natural disaster in recent U.S. history, here, the Lips set a typical brokenhearted love song against the backdrop of the 1938 Nazi raids that set the Holocaust in motion (thereby adding the gravest of subtexts to otherwise wistful lines like “Do you remember/The snow was falling/And I held you in my arms then we kissed/I think it was November”). The equally winsome “Wayne” has a similarly unnerving effect, its slow-dance swoon disrupted by an eye-opening lyric—“Is it true/Was it them or you/What you said about the man/Strung up by the Klan?”—that suggests the song could very well be about a certain controversial Southern rapper.
But such sublime moments are in scarce supply, as the album gets bogged down by repetitious mid-tempo rave-ups (“We Know”) and sluggish strip-club struts (“Come Ride With Me”) where Alexander overcompensates for the temperate pace by blowing out his vocal cords. Curiously, the closest thing Satan’s graffiti has to a climax is a random cover of the early Beatles classic “It Won’t Be Long.” It envisions what the song would sound like if it was recorded in 1966 instead of ’63, with Swilley lingering on the line “till I belong to you” until his anxious anticipation starts to sound more like a threat. And it’s a subtle reminder of what the Black Lips do so well, teasing the horror out of wholesomeness and recasting golden-age rock’n’roll in a strange, discomfiting light. But it’s a quality that often gets obscured amid this album’s unwieldy, unbridled sprawl.Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? tries to make a masterpiece from spray paint, but for every cool mural, there’s a splatter of obtrusive tags” (Pitchfork)

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30 mayo, 2017 - Posted by | The Black Lips

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