Album review: Black Lips, “Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?”

by Jon E. Lynch

Black Lips, “Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?”

Available: Friday, May 5, via Vice Records on compact disc and standard black vinyl LP.

Atlanta’s self-proclaimed “flower punks” return with their first long-player since the swampy scuzz of 2014’s “Underneath the Rainbow” and it’s a doozy, beyond well worth the wait. Clocking in at just under 56 minutes and 18 tracks, the Sean Lennon-produced “Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?” might just be an early front-runner for my Record of the Year. It could have been easy to follow up the last album with more of the same straightforward garage punk and “cut-a-bitch” attitude, but instead, they managed to mold their unique revivalist rock ’n’ roll into a familiar yet fresh album of brash, fuzz and sax-a-ma-phone-infused sonic dissonance.

My excitement for this particular record is in large part due to a positive lineup shift. Founding members Cole Alexander (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Jared Swilley (vocals/bass) reintroduced guitarist Jack Hines into the fold. Hines was a member of the band from 2002 to 2004 and, once departed from the band, made a couple of killer sludge-punk records with the K-Holes for HoZac and Hardly Art Records. In 2013, he also made a damn-near-perfect record with his wife, Julie, under the moniker Georgiana Starlington. His is a welcome return to say the very least. The album also features member additions Oakley Munson on drums and Zumi Rosow on saxophone and contributions from Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family and guest vocals (respectfully) by none other than Yoko Ono.

Recommended for fans of The Gun Club, X, The Cramps, and The Almighty Defenders, or contemporaries such as Natural Child, Night Beats, or the Growlers.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]

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