The last time we heard from Black Lips was back in 2011 with ‘Arabia Mountain’ but we’re soon to be graced with ‘Underneath the Rainbow’, the band’s seventh studio album. The lyrics “I don’t want to wait” from Track No. 8 ‘Waiting’ are incredibly fitting; considering that’s exactly how I feel about being forced to wait until March 18th to buy a copy. We all know the popular saying about there being a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow – but I’m telling you the real treasure underneath the rainbow is this gem of a record. The swagger that emanates from the opening track ‘Drive By Buddy’ can only be attributed to the fact that the album was co-produced by the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. I feel like I’m driving down an American highway in a Chevrolet Corvette: top down, my hair billowing behind in the wind. This track is certainly not one to listen to as you walk to work – unless of course you don’t mind looking like a bit of a twat as you strut your stuff down the street.
Whilst ‘Arabia Mountain’ was guided by Mark Ronson and boasted faux-60s production, drawing inspiration from the likes of the Sonics and the Premiers; ‘Underneath the Rainbow’ builds on a far broader reaching spectrum of musical influences. ‘Make You Mine’ reminds me of the half talking, half singing drawl that made Lou Reed (God bless his soul), and I’d challenge you not to bop your head/foot/*insert body part here* in time to this simplistic yet catchy tune. ‘Funny’ is evocative of FIDLAR’s ‘Stoked and Broke’ and has drawling, verging-on-shouty vocals that fit seamlessly with a fuzzy sounding instrumental. Garage rock at its finest.
‘Dorner Party’ is a rare track indeed. The sort of track that makes me (side note: the laziest human on the planet) want to put on my running gear and do some exercise for once in my life. This is thanks to the fast paced and buzzing riff that gives the song energy and pace. There’s some really clean, sexy guitar work in ‘Boys In The Wood’ that mirrors the whole of The Black Keys’ ‘El Camino’, but most notably their track ‘Money Maker’.
Then there are some slightly darker, more sinister sounding tracks such as ‘Do The Vibrate’ and ‘Dandelion Dust’ which are a welcome shift in tone. The claps in ‘Dandelion Dust’ are a nice addition and I imagine an audience participatory element waiting to happen when the album is played live. Black Lips are famous for their live shows; they’ve covered the spectrum from nudity, urination, vomiting to fireworks to even include a chicken at one point. It’s with a solid record like this that makes me want to tick them off my live bucket list all the more.