Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand (CD)

Throughout the years since they formed (around 9, if people were checking), Black Lips have continued to refine the sound that was first heard on their 2003 self-titled debut. “200 Million Thousand” is their follow-up release to their 2007 Vice debut, “Good Bad Not Evil”, and immediately gives listeners a fresh slate which to appreciate the band’s music. “Take My Heart” is a bit of retro, taking together the psychedelic, blues-rock, and garage movements of the seventies and turning them ever so slightly into a track that works in the current period and speaks to fans of current music.

This track is followed up perfectly with “Drugs”, a track that moves slightly newer in its constellation of influences. That means that the Rolling Stones veneer of Black Lips is given a hockey check into the boards by a heavy dollop of Ramones influence. “Starting Over” has a slower tempo to it than most tracks on “200 Million Thousand”, but the strung-out sound of the band here seems to marry together sixties rock with a little bit of Tim Armstrong’s unique brand of caterwauling. “Shot Fuse” is similarly slower, but shows the band’s love of Neil Young and The Replacement. The driving tempo of “Shot Fuse” works alongside sci-fi sweeps and piano rolls to make something that is a current and fresh interpretation of older genres. “Again & Again” mashes up equal parts Iggy Pop and Devo, all while a bit of funk threatens to come through.

What ultimately results from this track is something that would work perfectly on sixties radio, despite being created nearly forty years after the decade ended. Despite the fact that the disc contains 15 tracks, none of the cuts from “200 Million Thousand” sound stressed or otherwise place the Black Lips in any but the strongest light. If you have not heard the band up to this point, your next stop should be to pick up “200 Million Thousand” and see the band live.

Top Tracks: Drugs, Let It Grow

Rating: 8.3/10

Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand / 2009 Vice / 15 Tracks / http://www.black-lips.com / http://www.viceland.com

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