Black Lips – Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? (Album Review)

Black Lips – Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? (Album Review)

Known for their Punk Rock attitude, the Black Lips awoke from a slumber to dirty up the sound for their latest album Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? Their eighth overall album, Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? was released May 5th via Vice Records featuring eighteen songs in total. Their first album since 2014’s impressive Underneath the Rainbow, the new effort is a penny well-spent with the same type of energy and boldness that makes the Black Lips such a certified Garage Rock band.

Recorded by Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley with former Guitarist Jack Hines and new members Oakley Munson (drums) and Zumi Rosow (saxophone), their latest endeavor features John Lennon’s son Sean Lennon as the producer to spice things up. Forming in 1999 and now considered veterans on the scene, the rambunctious group from Atlanta, Georgia have performed all over the world and are known for their senseless, yet provocative live performances and continue to prove that the time passed has hardly worn them down.

In the spectrum of Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? there seems to be an ongoing theme of rebellion for a band that has adamantly defined their music as “flower punk,” an interesting paradox to describe their soft emotional dialect accompanied with such a gut-wrenching sound. Starting off with the first song off the record, it sounds like it could be a drunk’s anthem titled “Can’t Hold On.” It is the most beautiful mind-numbing mess where vocals are so miserable and angry, they could kill. There is unique mix of disorder and which seems to be how the title came about. The Black Lips shed light on the beauty that lives within the chaos.

For their most recent release, the same theme continues in the song “Occidental Front” where the legendary Yoko Ono makes her bellowing contributions. She blesses the song with her piercing screams giving the sound a very jumbled, rowdy edge. However, for a little more refined, laid back listen, there are songs like “The Last Cul de Sac” and lazy tune “Crystal Night” which welcomes a more ’70s Psychedelic vibe.

Furthermore, Black Lips tap into a more grimy yet bluesy sound in “Got Me All Alone” and a Punk-alicious and fuzzy persona in “Squatting in Heaven” which ends strong, making it one of the stand out songs in the 18-track album. If there is a song that takes the cake for being the slickest, fairest of them all, it is “Rebel Intuition,” which embodies everything that makes Black Lips so lovable. This songs puts that zero-fucks attitude with Punk, Blues and Psychedelic mind-bends and puts it all in a blender and out comes the most delicious song.Not too far behind or short of the perfect eargasm is “Lucid Nightmare” with its squealing guitar throughout the song and ghostly background vocals, it feels like a time-machine to the ’60s/’70s era.

In all the racket, the Black Lips continue to craft music that keeps their bold roots intact. Though misfits and rebels, and lunatics in their own right, these boys work. Who else puts out albums twice as long as they should be? There is a lot of quality in the quantity in every uprising of a song Black Lips spat out this round. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? 4 out of 5 stars.

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Vivian Alvarado
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