Black Lips – 'Underneath the Rainbow' album review

More of the same from the Atlanta garage rockers, but that's no bad thing



Add +

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

On its own terms, the Black Lips’ seventh album succeeds utterly – for the simple reason that the Atlanta quartet have no real interest in doing anything other than making the same album they’ve already made six times.

This is not as easy as it might sound: if you asked U2, or Oasis, or Snoop Dogg, or The Spice Girls to exactly remake their debut albums in terms of tone and quality, but with different songs, they would each turn in a work of indescribable bilge.

The Lips, however, manage to keep pumping out tuneful garage punk of solid quality without the faintest sign of exhaustion. Possibly their notoriously dissolute stage practices (breaking things, stealing things, weeing on things, fighting things) have somehow conspired to help them keep that young man’s edge. Probably it’s just all the drugs.

In any case, ‘Underneath the Rainbow’ has a certain amount of diversity to it: opener ‘Drive-By Buddy’ shows of the band’s titanic cojones by simply being the Stones’ ‘The Last Time’; ‘Smiling’ is like a punked-up out-take from the ‘Grease’ soundtrack; ‘Boys in the Wood’ slouches about with boozed up, bluesed up menace; ‘Dandelion’ explodes with the type of effortless fuzzbomb energy peers like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club wish they could still muster.

If you were told this was the debut album from some long lost Detroit band from the ’60s, you would freak out. Knowing it’s just the latest from the Black Lips is undeniably less exciting. But they’re the kings of what they do, grumpily basking in their own eternal summer.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

Listen to Black Lips on Spotify

Watch the video for 'Boys in the Wood'

Users say


See Black Lips live in London

The Orwells

‘Sounding real raunchy and shit,’ say The Orwells of themselves, and

  1. Electric Ballroom 184 Camden High St, NW1 8QP
  2. Thu Nov 20
Buy tickets

Read more music features

Six must-see shows at Illuminations

Don’t miss these highlights at London’s annual music and film festival

The 20 best one-hit wonders

The best songs by artists who never troubled the music charts again

The Mercury Prize 2014 shortlist

Meet the contenders for the biggest album award in British music

Interview: Kindness

The genre-hopping Londoner has made a sublime second album. Shame people keep calling his music ‘white-boy funk’

A guide to Northern soul

Bone up on the scene that invented UK club culture with our need-to-know introduction

See all Time Out music features