Satan's Graffiti or God's Art?

by: Black Lips

When Mark Ronson and Patrick Carney want to clean up your act, what do you do? If you're in the Black Lips, you go along, which turned out to be a good idea on 2011's Arabia Mountain, produced by Ronson, and not so great on 2014's Underneath the Rainbow, with Carney of the Black Keys at the controls. What if you're not so sure you want your act cleaned up any more? Well, you start hanging out with your friend Sean Lennon, and get him to produce an album that throws you back into the deep end of murk. Released in 2017, Satan's Graffiti or God's Art? not only reestablishes the group's former sonic personality as the fuzzy nexus between the Fall and the Trashmen, it's one of the most unhinged things the Black Lips have cut since 2005's Let It Bloom. Lennon gives the Black Lips a punchier sound than they had pre-Ronson, but ultimately this is the work of a band that was clearly encouraged to get loose after a few years of struggling to be tight. And loose is clearly the band's comfort zone, with these performances bounding all over the place between the ragged guitars, honking saxophones, and wailing keyboards, as the rhythm section valiantly labors to keep things traveling in the same direction. The Black Lips were clearly having a good time conjuring up some dirty-ass rock & roll on these sessions, and they even brought in Yoko Ono to do a guest scream on "Occidental Front." And you'll never think of the Beatles' "It Won't Be Long" the same way again after you've heard what the Black Lips do with it. ~ Mark Deming

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