Black Lips

Black Lips – Satan’s Graffiti Or God’s Art? (Vice Records)

There’s very much a Beatles presence in the air here, on Black Lips‘ eighth full length album, not least because it was produced by one Sean Ono Lennon and features his mum, Yoko, on ‘Occidental Front‘, the rowdy psychobilly stompalong tune that (almost) opens Satan’s Graffiti Or God’s Art? That’s not where the connection ends either, as ‘Crystal Night‘ has an early moptops feel about it, while the Atlanta collective tackle the Fabs’ ‘It Won’t Be Long‘ in grand style towards the arse end of the album. And what a fine arse end it truly is, with the second half of this excellent long player being roughly twice as good as the first half. Which is nice, because the first half’s good anyway.

Many of the tracks here sound, as is the wont of Black Lips in general, as though they could have tumbled straight off the classic Nuggets collections from the sixties, though there is a wistful nonchalance which permeates several of them so, for example, ‘Last Cul-De-Sac‘ sounds like Ray Davies wrote it, while the wonderfully fuzzed up single ‘Can’t Hold On‘ borrows the chord sequence from The Four Seasons‘ ‘Beggin’‘.

Satan’s Graffiti… is interspersed with several short intermissions which feel a little like woozy drunken strolls through the park on a summer evening, perhaps even the early hours of the day after the most epic of parties, especially ‘Interlude Elektrik Spiderwebz‘, which is near enough three minutes long and suggests that it’s probably a good job the drug squad failed to raid the aforementioned party, where the Lips were acting out their Stooges-meets-Muddy Waters fantasies (on ‘Got me All Alone‘), and tossing free bags full of illegal narcotics to all and sundry.

We Know‘ sounds like Aussie alt rockers Rocket Science circa Contact High, the brilliant ‘In My Mind There’s A Dream‘ is akin to being invited to some nightmarish rodeo where, upon your arrival, you learn that YOU are the bucking bronco and there are no untamed horses in sight. It’s a real addictive number where the vocal whip-cracks are strangely reminiscent to those on punk band 999‘s legendary ‘Obsessed’ single. ‘Lucid Nightmare‘ appears to borrow the rhythm section from Adam And The Ants and both ‘Wayne‘ and ‘Losers Lament‘ are both highly intoxicated folk/country numbers.

This is all tremendously enjoyable stuff, and some of the lyrics here are full of intrigue, not least at the album’s conclusion, ‘Final Sunday Mourning‘, which states, simply, “I came across Gerry Adams on the highway, and he looked at me and said ‘Saul, you’re a miserable man’, and he had a bag of magic beans.” And let’s face it, if that alone doesn’t make you want to hear Satan’s Graffiti Or God’s Art, there is something seriously lacking in your life. Another winner.

Satan’s Graffiti Or Black Art is released on 5th May through Vice Records.

  1. Veni Vidi Vici was a great song. They lost me when I saw them live and their idea of ‘entertainment’ was to fry live maggots on an overhead projector to acheive movement in the light bathing the stage.

    I do not give much of a fuck about maggots to be quite honest, but I do tend to think that utterly pointless cruelty to animals (however small, primitive and despicable they are) is the sign of some pretty shitty people whose music I have no interest in.

    Black Lips can fuck right off.

    1. Well, I’m vegan, so you won’t get any argument from me there, Wild Eye, but like so many artists, it is important to try and separate the people from the music in order to give an unbiased review. And this is a fine album indeed, regardless of what horrors may lie in the band’s closet.

      1. Unbiased review? Never heard such a weird thing poposed in all my life. Perhaps one of the main reasons I read so few reviews is that there are so few reviewers out there who I both trust and am reassured that they will tell me FACTS how it is, and not try to be “unbiased” or “balanced” or “reasoned” or somesuch other things in their writing. This is 2017, there is no such thing as a “fine album” in the style of nuggets. Either it is absolute genius (like veni vidi vici) or it is pointless, derivative, boring, retro shit. Given that you do not claim it is genius I can only assume it is rubbish.

        1. Well I respect your right to hold that opinion. I disagree entirely, but hey, if that’s your view, who am I to change it? Besides, I couldn’t really give a toss whether you or anyone else likes it. I did like it. Whoopie doo.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.