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Satan's Graffiti or God's Art?


Artist: Black Lips
Label: Vice
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 05 May 2017

Black Lips is a Flower Punk or Garage Rock (depending on your point of view) band from Atlanta, comprising mainstays Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley, returning guitarist Jack Hines, and recent new additions Oakley Munson (on drums) and Zumi Roscow (on Saxophone). Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art is the group’s ninth studio album. It is produced by Sean Lennon, son of John, and features guest locals on one track by Yoko Ono.

Scuzzy, Swampy Rockabilly is the closest I could get to this in terms of a description of music genres/crossovers. Black Lips have enjoyed many favourable reviews, but to be honest I found it to be a naval-searching cacophony of chaos. The problem is that the album quite simply can’t decide what to be. You might argue it makes for a more diverse collection of songs; however, the truth is it’s too extreme in its differences. For example, 'Occidental Front', and 'Can’t Hold On', have a weirdly Western (as in Spaghetti) sound going on – with a galloping background keeping it together. In fact, you can quite imagine these being used in a film. So, just when you think you have a handle of the overall theme, nothing else sounds even remotely similar.

Sometimes ambient noises and discordant twangs can aid the bridge between tracks. Here, it’s as if everything has been detuned… to the extent that the guitar has the effect it’s playing in another key entirely. The resultant mess, along with the ‘can’t be bothered/only just woken up’ – sounding vocals made the supposed disinterest rub-off on me. There is a song called 'We Know', which has a Rock-like opening riff; my ears pricked-up at this point, but not for long. And then the rest of the album seems to degenerate into a Hill Billy half-hour.

Not for me. My verdict is it’s Satan’s Graffiti.


Ty Power

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