“Drive-By Buddy,” the opening track on the Black Lips’ recently minted Underneath the Rainbow, sounds like Faces by way of The Monkees, its Honky-Tonk guitar riff and galloping beat leavened by the quartet’s usual assortment of lyrical goofiness: “Well brother, what’s the matter/Do you hate the life you’ve chose/Well I hope it doesn’t flatter, when you’re bathing with a hose/But as long as your butt’s clean, then it’s all good.”
The Lips’ ramshackle act surfaced from a place called Dunwoody, Ga., around the turn of the century. A decade and a half and seven albums later the band is still kicking and still using Garage Pop as base from which to explore every Rock & Roll U-turn it sees as worthy of investigation. Produced by The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, Underneath the Rainbow is a departure while also being obvious, another funhouse of jangling guitars and simple pleasures.
“Boys in the Wood” sounds like Lynyrd Skynyrd minus the guitar heroics, an ode to the Lips’ Southern roots that’s at once heartfelt and silly. The terse, nerve-rattling “Dorner Party” is over before you know it. So is “Make You Mine,” a surprisingly sweet throwback that might even yield a toe-tap and a smile from Roy Orbison.
In fact, eight of the album’s dozen tracks clock in at less than three minutes — a sign of the members’ short attention spans, or maybe just its eagerness to try on another Rock & Roll trope as quickly as it can.
And if you think their studio albums are all over the place, wait to you witness the Lips’ unpredictable, antic-laden live show.
BLACK LIPS play Southgate House Revival Tuesday, Sept. 23. Find tickets/more info here.